The Builder Magazine
November 1918 - Volume IV - Number 11
MASONIC WAR WORK IN ENGLAND
BY BROTHER DUDLEY WRIGHT, ASSISTANT EDITOR "THE FREEMASON,"
BROTHER Dr. Fort Newton has honored me with the request that I should put on
paper some particulars of what the brethren in England are doing toward the relief of
the distress and suffering brought into being through this terrible war and what steps
they are taking to bring about, in an honourable manner, the end toward which all
eyes are turned. The task is not an easy one for the very reason that Brother Fort
Newton himself gave only a few days since at the City Temple. English people do not
advertise, except it be to announce in a loud voice the indiscretions they commit.
Particularly is this so of the brethren of the Craft in England. I have frequently met
brethren who have almost shuddered when they have seen the report of a Masonic
gathering in the secular press. "Oh, how wrong !" has been their exclamation. It is,
perhaps, unnecessary for me to say that I make them shudder as often as I can. There
are members of the Craft who refuse to subscribe to Masonic journals on the ground
that they are unnecessary and ought to be abolished. But possibly there may be
another explanation of this refusal.
The beneficence of the Craft in England has, however, and rightly so, been honoured
with magnificent advertisements in the English press of late. The extraordinary results
achieved by the great Masonic institutions at their recent festivals, when, according to
the latest tabulation, sums amounting in the aggregate to considerably over a quarter
of a million pounds sterling, or, according to the coinage of New England, a million
and a half dollars were collected, have excited not a little wonderment and a good deal
of admiration in that large world outside the Craft. This beneficence, however, is but a
very small part of the whole that has been, and is being, done by the great Masonic
body in this country towards relieving distress, pain and suffering occasioned by the
Apart from the great London area, which comprises nearly eight hundred lodges,
England and Wales are divided up into forty-five Masonic Provinces, which include
in their dominion more than 1,800 lodges. Every one of these Provinces has its own
Provincial Benevolent Fund and each of these has reported increased receipts during
the year at the annual meetings which have just been held— East Lancashire has more
than doubled its income— and each, following in the wake of the three great
institutions, has elected its beneficiaries without ballot. Then, during the past few
months, the Freemasons War Hospital has extended its operations by taking over that
portion of Fulham Palace, so generously offered by the Bishop of London to the Red
The Provinces, also have been assiduous in other ways. The Wallasey brethren
purchased and equipped a six-cylinder, forty-five horsepower motor ambulance which
they presented to the local branch of the Red Cross Society. The Nottinghamshire
brethren set out to collect the money necessary for the installation of an up-to-date
orthopaedic treatment for the wounded soldiers in the local hospital, but the Masonic
response to the appeal issued was so spontaneous and hearty that they found
themselves in a position to erect a new wing for the apparatus and patients as well as
the apparatus. This, apart from the fact that the same brethren have established a hut at
Chipstone Camp at a cost of 1,300 pounds and are maintaining five houses for
Belgian refugees. In a similar manner the North London Freemasons undertook to
provide a motor ambulance for the conveyance of wounded soldiers. The sum
contributed enabled them to do this and provide also one year's maintenance. Now
they are on the road to supplying a second ambulance.
In the East End of London the brethren, without difficulty, found themselves in
possession of more than 1 ,000 pounds which they needed for the endowment of a bed
in Queen Mary's Hospital and so they placed the balance, together with other sums
they are still collecting, towards the new wing which is to be erected in
commemoration of the brave men of East Ham who have fallen in the conflict.
Warwickshire and other Provinces have also provided motor ambulances. Bath— there
are only five lodges in Bath— provided an organ for the local war hospital. These are
but a few of the things that have been done, for so much has been done by stealth. One
member of the Craft established on his own account a "Smoker's Gift" and spends a
great portion of his time collecting the names and addresses of brethren and their sons
serving at the front in order that he may send them gifts of tobacco. It is an open
secret that one volunteer regiment composed entirely of men over military age, or
otherwise disqualified, and performing regular and useful service was really brought
into being by members of the Craft by whom it is almost entirely manned. The
members of the London Rank Association, all men of middle or mature age, devote
time to visiting the hospitals, rendering various services to their fellow Masons or
their relatives there.
It would be practically impossible to enumerate the Masonic church services which
have been held, at all of which the offertories have been devoted either to the
Freemasons War Hospital or to some other fund directly connected with the relief of
suffering or distress occasioned by the war.
Many lodges, particularly those peculiarly fitted for such hospitality by their
constitution, such as the Royal Colonial Institute Lodge and the Anglo-Colonial
Lodge, have made it a special feature to welcome American and Colonial brethren in
khaki passing through this country on their way to the front. Handsome contributions
have been made to the Interned Prisoners' War Fund— the Province of
Northamptonshire alone gave 1,000 pounds — the Belgian Relief and other War
This is but a part of what has been accomplished in England and Wales. The Grand
Lodges of Scotland and Ireland have been equally active and generous in proportion
to their strength, as have the sister English-speaking Grand Lodges across the seas and
the thirty District Grand Lodges working under the United Grand Lodge of England
BY BRO. GEORGE W. BAIRD. P.G.M., DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Matthew Thornton, whose memorial is shown as the frontispiece of this issue, was
one of the three signers of the Declaration of Independence who were born in Ireland.
His ancestry were Scotch, and migrated to the north of Ireland about the year 1650.
Thornton was bom in 1714, and came to the American Colonies with his parents and
other Scotch-Irish families, in 1717.
The Thorntons were Presbyterians. They figured prominently in the Colonial Wars,
the Revolution, the War with Mexico and the Civil War and, no doubt, the
descendants are now participating in the present World War "Somewhere in France."
Matthew Thornton was a physician, enjoying a good practice in the time of the
Colonies. In 1775, as Surgeon of a New Hampshire Regiment, he went with the
expedition to Cape Breton, which resulted in the capture of Louisbourg. The town of
Thornton was named fol Matthew Thornton, and granted to him and others by the
King in 1763.
In 1760 he was married to Hannah Jack, who was considered a great beauty. Five
children were the result of the union, all of whom became distinguished.
Dr. Thornton held many public offices. Among them were Representative in the
Legislature, selectman of Londonderry and moderator in the town meetings. He was
commissioned by the Royal Government as Colonel of the Londonderry Regiment,
which he commanded. He was commissioned a Justice of the Peace of the Court of
Common Pleas, in which position he served for a number of years and attended the
Court in general session.
He was active in church work, and advocated a uniform and equitable system of
taxation in the church.
He served in the Second Provincial Congress and represented the Provisional
Government in the Watertown Congress, in which body he was chosen president pro
tem, and was on the committee to prepare a plan of ways and means to furnish troops,
which was at once effective.
He was an excellent Greek and Latin scholar, had a marvelous command of the
English language, and was usually the central figure in all assemblies. Though much
in love with his medical profession, he was continually persuaded away from it, into
public life, by acclamation of the people. In that day of patriotism the office sought
the man— but, alas, how times have changed.
In 1775 Thornton was on the committee of safety. The President invited him to
consult with Franklin, Lynch and Harrison, in the task of forming an army.
Matthew Thornton was a member of an Army Lodge of the 28th Regiment, Foot, and
was initiated at Londonderry. This fact is confirmed by Gould in volume IV of his
"Library of Masonic History," and is in accordance with the family traditions, so we
are informed by a direct descendant, Mr. Charles F. Adams, who resides in New York
City. The records of this lodge were lost and never afterwards found, as was the case
of so many of the Revolutionary records.
The picture of the monument tells of the gratitude of New Hampshire. The monument
is of dressed granite and is situated at Thornton's Ferry, a town in New Hampshire,
near Merrimac, on ground once the property of Dr. Thornton and which is still in the
possession of his descendants.
— o —
MASONIC JURISPRUDENCE BY BRO. ROSCOE POUND, DEAN, HARVARD
IV— MASONIC LAW MAKING
NO idea is today more familiar than the idea of making law. Wherever any sort of
sovereign authority exists, men take for granted that it will proceed to justify its
existence by copious legislation and assume as a matter of course that the quantity of
its legislative output is the measure of its efficiency. This was not always true. Indeed
conscious law-making on any large scale is a wholly modem phenomenon not only in
the state but in those human organizations which exist to conserve other than political
values and secure other than political interests, but are organized along lines
analogous to those which govern politically organized society. Hence by way of
introduction it is worth while to give some account of the development of legislation
in the legal systems of modem states.
Five stages may be perceived in the development of legislation as the everyday
agency of law-making: (1) unconscious legislation in the period of customary law, (2)
declaratory legislation in the period when the traditional law is reduced to writing, (3)
selection and amendment when by the political union of peoples with divergent
customs it becomes necessary to choose in declaring the custom of the new whole, (4)
conscious constmctive law-making as an occasional expedient, at first to meet
political exigencies, but gradually to effect important changes here and there in the
legal system in great emergencies, and (5) habitual legislation as the ordinary agency
of development, usually culminating in codification of the law as a whole.
In the first stage of legal development, the stage of traditional modes of decision
based upon repeated decisions by supposed divine inspiration, there is not a little
unconscious law-making. The case in hand may not be exactly like one which has
arisen previously, but those who have the custody of the tradition may assimilate it
thereto. Moreover the custodians of the tradition may warp it more or less
unconsciously to meet new needs. The laws obeyed are regarded as having always
existed. Men are not conscious of the innovations which creep in from time to time
and in the best of faith confuse new usages with the old. Thus for a time law-making
is a purely subconscious process.
Later we come upon a stage of declaratory legislation. In the beginnings of law all
legislation, as such, is of this type. It is not an authoritative making of new law— it is
an authoritative publication of law already existing. All the so-called ancient codes are
of this type. Indeed the prologue to the laws of Manu, reciting how Bhrigu, who had
learned the tradition from Manu, authoritatively dictated them to the sages, the
prologue to the Senchus Mor, in the Ancient Laws of Ireland, telling how the bards
were brought together and recited the traditional laws to St. Patrick, and the prologue
to the Salic Law, telling how chosen men from the different villages were brought
together and discussed among themselves the traditions, as they remembered them, till
they arrived at an authoritative text to be reduced to writing— such prologues tell the
story of primitive legislation.
Conscious law-making begins when it becomes necessary to make choice between
conflicting traditions or when conflicting traditions must be harmonized through
amendment. This necessity arises whenever attempt is made to reduce the tradition to
writing or to compare and re-edit different versions of the written tradition. It becomes
acute when attempt is made to declare the common custom of a political unit formed
by the union of formerly distinct tribes or peoples with customs of their own. An
example is to be seen in the laws of Alfred. He tells us that he had to pick and choose
and even amend, but adds "I durst not set down much of my own." From this it is an
easy stage, but one taken only gradually and occasionally, to pass to conscious
constructive law-making. The first step in this direction comes when men perceive
that by changing the written record of the law they can change the law which
theretofore had been held eternal and immutable. Even when this discovery is made,
however, after a brief law-making ferment, the law settles back to a process of growth
through development of tradition, and it is not until the maturity of legal systems that
we enter upon a real stage of legislation.
A similar development may be seen in Masonic lawmaking, and it will conduce to
sounder appreciation of our written law to look at its history in this way. It is true a
wholly different view of the subject became classical in Masonic literature. Thus
Mackey, after considering the landmarks, says:
"Next to the unwritten laws, or Landmarks of Masonry, come its written or statutory
laws. These are the 'regulations' as they are usually called, which have been enacted
from time to time by General Assemblies, Grand Lodges, or other supreme authorities
of the Order. They are in their character either general or local." (Jurisprudence,
We are then told that the "General Regulations are those that have been enacted by
such bodies as had at the time universal jurisdiction over the craft," and the year 1721
being fixed as the decisive point beyond which such general regulations were no
longer possible because there were no longer general assemblies with general powers,
ten authentic and authoritative acts of general Masonic legislation down to 1721 are
set forth as follows: (1) The "Old York Constitutions of 926" (for which he gives
Oliver's abridged version of the articles and points from the Halliwell MS.); (2) the
"Constitutions of Edward III" (taken from Anderson's Constitutions, 2d edition); (3)
the "Regulations of 1663"; (4) the "Ancient Installation Charges" (taken from
Preston's Illustrations); (5) the "Ancient Charges at Makings" (also from Preston); (6)
the "Regulation of 1703" (given on the authority of Preston); (7) the "Regulations of
1717" (given on the same authority); (8) the "Regulations of 1720" (an authentic
regulation, adopted at a quarterly communication of the Grand Lodge of England,
June 24, 1720); (9) the "Charges Approved in 1722" (presented to the Grand Lodge of
England in 1721 by Anderson and Desaguliers, adopted March 25, 1722, and
published in the first edition of Anderson's Constitutions, 1723); and (10) the "General
Regulations of 1 72 1 " compiled by George Payne, Grand Master in 1 720, approved by
the Grand Lodge of England in 1721, printed in the first edition of Anderson's
Constitutions. Thus, it will be noted, we are asked to believe in a series of acts of
Masonic legislation, wholly analogous to a codification of the law or the enactment of
a new paragraph of the written law by a modem American Grand Lodge, extending
from the tenth century to the eighteenth. It is the first step in a proper understanding of
Masonic Jurisprudence to discard this idea completely. There were no such assemblies
as this conception of the MS. constitutions postulates down to 1717, and it was not till
the eighteenth century that men began to think of the wholesale making of laws out of
whole cloth as a normal, much less a legitimate process.
Thanks to the studies of Hughan and Gould and Begemann, we know much more
about the MS. constitutions than was known in 1859, when Mackey's Jurisprudence
was written. Today no serious Masonic scholar believes that constitutions "were
framed at the City of York in the year 926" or that the constitutions so framed "were
seen approved and confirmed in the reign of Henry VI." The unconfirmed authority of
Anderson and Preston, moreover, will not suffice to establish legislation of the first
quarter of the eighteenth century. What we find is not a uniform tract of law-making,
analogous to that set forth in the statutes of the realm, but rather a written tradition
from the end of the fourteenth century, obviously based on an older oral tradition,
changing and developing slowly in the course of successive transcripts, and laid hold
of on the rise of the Grand Lodge system in the eighteenth century as the basis of
Masonic law. In other words, we may see an unconscious development in the
(Masonically) pre-historic period of oral tradition, declaratory law-making when in
the middle ages the traditional regulations were reduced to writing, selection and
amendment from time to time as the MSS. were recopied and re-edited, conscious
constructive law-making as an occasional expedient in the fore part of the eighteenth
century in the Mother Grand Lodge, and finally an era of habitual legislative law-
making in the nineteenth century which has reached its highest development in
America. Gould's conclusion that the earliest of our authentic MSS. shows us "a gild
or fraternity which commemorated the science without practising the art of masonry"
seems well founded. It was as far back as the fourteenth century a "fraternity from
whom all but the memory or tradition of its ancient trade had departed." Hence, as
Gould puts it, "many of the old laws or disciplinary regulations of the earlier Masons
became fossilized or petrified." "They passed out of use, though retaining their hold
on the written and unwritten traditions of the society" (Concise History, Am. ed. 308).
When, in the eighteenth century, organized Grand Lodge Masonry became a world-
wide institution, these traditions had to be put to a new use. Instead of being read to or
shown to the initiate, they had to be transformed into a body of law for a society with
new values to conserve and new interests to secure. In this respect Mackey's instinct
was sound when he fixed upon Payne's General Regulations of 1721 as the turning
Why should the Masons of the last half of the eighteenth century and of the first three
quarters of the nineteenth century have deceived themselves so completely upon a
matter of such consequence? One reason, and perhaps the chief reason, is to be found
in eighteenth-centuiy ideas of codes and of law-making. For one thing, the eighteenth
century was an age of absolute governments. The local, feudal, decentralized
governments of medieval Europe had definitely broken down. In England the Wars of
the Roses had demonstrated that the general security called for something stronger
and the Tudors and Stuarts had furnished it, howbeit the struggles against the Stuarts
had preserved for the modem world the sound kernel of the medieval polity. In
France, which in the days of Louis XIV had furnished the model for eighteenth-
century politics, centralized royal government had triumphed. The Roman Coipus
Iuris, compiled in sixth-century Constantinople, gave us Byzantine ideas of law as the
product of the sovereign will, and the Byzantine theory of law, expounded by French
publicists in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, accorded so exactly with what
men saw before their eyes that it scarcely needed the aid of an idea that Roman law
was embodied reason to give it currency. The time was one of codes and legislative
programs. Men spoke of the "codes" of the Anglo-Saxon kings and thought of the
traditional law of English-speaking peoples as a body of statutes worn down by time.
It was the fashion among historians to attribute all legal and political institutions to the
deliberate invention of this or that ruler. A sounder view came in with Hegel's
philosophy and the rise of the historical school in the nineteenth century. But that
view did not reach Anglo-American scholarship at once and did not become
significant in American thought till some time after the Civil War.
Again we must remember that the eighteenth century thought of itself as the age of
reason. Men had absolute faith in reason. They believed that they could work out
everything by their own unaided reason without troubling to do the futile work of
investigating details. Moreover they believed firmly in what they called "natural law."
They conceived that what ought to be and what was were to be made synonymous;
that whenever one could show a moral principle that ought to govern conduct he had
thereby shown a legal principle that did govern it. This attitude led naturally to
confusion of what ought to be and what was, and it was an easy transition from what
one would like to think to what ought to be. Thus much of eighteenth-century
historical writing was ultra- subjective. It is a record of what the writer thought a priori
must have been the course of history, assuming that to show what ought to have been
sufficiently demonstrated what was. When, therefore, Gould says of Preston that he
was "a Masonic visionary who— untrammeled by any laws of evidence wrote a large
amount of enthusiastic rubbish, wherein are displayed a capacity of belief and
capability of assertion which are hardly paralleled at the present day by the utterances
of the company promoter, or even of the mining engineer," he is but saying that
Preston was a child of his time. The need of fortifying the Grand Lodge system by an
appeal to antiquity was strong. Men were not trained in historical method. Rather they
relied on their individual reasons for all things, and what they took to be reason was
often no more than enthusiasm and desire.
Thus the first five of Mackey's ten forms of the old written law of Masonry take on a
wholly different aspect. The sixth and seventh are Preston's generalizations from the
result of the establishment of the Grand Lodge system. The principles which he
formulates in these so-called regulations were thoroughly established in his day.
Characteristically he assumed that they must have resulted from deliberate law-
making and, fixing the terms as accurately as he could, he reported them
circumstantially as to the time and place of their adoption, exactly as the eighteenth-
century historian could report the precise words spoken in a council of war centuries
before and report out of his own reason the details of intrigues and conspiracies, of
debates of secret councils, and even of the communings of a king or commander with
himself. Indeed the apociyphal character of the so-called regulation of 1703, which
contradicts all that we know of Masonry from the fourteenth to the eighteenth
centuries, suggested itself to Mackey, who sought to avoid the difficulty by
interpretation in a footnote. The remaining four are genuine examples of legislative
declaration of existing law, with minor emendations, or of legislative innovations to
secure new interests and conserve new values.
Today the written law of the craft in any particular Jurisdiction, which Mackey would
call its local regulations, is made up commonly of four elements: (1) constitutions of
the Grand Lodge, which are usually compiled and edited from time to time and thus
kept in organized, systematic form exactly as a state of the Union compiles its
legislation, or else after a definite compilation are held in that form by a practice of
introducing new legislation in the form of amendments of or additions to this or that
paragraph; (2) decisions of the Grand Lodge on appeal from the Masters of
subordinate (or constituent) lodges or from the lodges themselves; (3) edicts of the
Grand Master; and (4) answers of the Grand Master to inquiries as to the law
submitted to him, or decisions of the Grand Master upon questions asked by Masters
of lodges with reference to matters pending before them or their lodges. To
understand these we must turn to the Roman law where these forms of law developed
and got the names which still attach to them not only in the law of the state but in
A Roman emperor made or declared the law by constitution, by decision (decree), by
edict, and by rescript or letter. He had this power, in legal theory, because at his
accession the Roman people had specially conferred it upon him for his life by a
special act of legislation. Down to the reign of Diocletian, at least, in political theory,
the Roman state was a republic. Sovereignty was in the Roman people. The emperor
was only "princeps," first citizen, a citizen upon whom the Roman people had
devolved their sovereignty for the time being by an act of legislative authority upon an
extraordinary occasion. Later, in Byzantine times, the emperor came to be thought of
as the repository of sovereignty and the source of law. But in classical times he simply
wielded the powers of the sovereign Roman people which had been devolved upon
him. Accordingly as the Roman people in their legislative assembly could enact a
statute (lex) the emperor, wielding the legislative power of the people, could enact a
law. What he thus established (constituit) by virtue of the legislative authority
devolved upon him, was called a constitution (constitutio). Thus in Roman law a
constitution is a rule established by legislative act. And such precisely is a constitution
in Masonry. Only with us the legislative power of the fraternity in each jurisdiction
has devolved upon the Grand Lodge. Hence what the Grand Lodge establishes and
promulgates as a rule of law, by virtue of its legislative authority, is a constitution. At
the end of the eighteenth century, when sovereign peoples began to adopt for
themselves a fundamental law, fixing the framework of government and imposing
limitations upon the several organs of government so set up, the term constitution
came to be applied to such enactments of the sovereign people. Thus it has come into
use in America, and to a less extent elsewhere, in the sense of a superior fundamental
law, to which ordinary acts of the several departments of government or of the
agencies of a society must yield, a conception growing out of the circumstances of
colonial government in America prior to the Revolution, where executive and
legislative acts were subject to the measure of the colonial charter. In Masonic law we
preserve the older use of the term, speaking from the fore part of the eighteenth
century, when the modern political written constitution was quite unknown.
Another way in which the Roman emperor made or declared law was by his decisions
in causes taken to him on appeal or determined by him directly. These were called
decrees. For the Roman magistrate had no power to render a judgment of the strict
law. This could be done only by judices or arbitrators, chosen for the case in hand,
somewhat as the common law demands the verdict of a jury as the foundation of a
judgment. But the magistrate could decide certain things extra ordinem and render a
decree, and this power, along with the other powers of the Roman magistrates, was
specially devolved upon the emperor at his accession. In Masonry, the power of
determining appeals, as an attribute of sovereignty— for so it was regarded when men
forgot how the Roman emperors came by it— devolved upon the Grand Lodge, to
which in the eighteenth century sovereignty definitely passed.
Still another way in which the Roman emperor made or declared the law was by his
edict. The power of issuing an edict belonged originally to the superior magistrates of
the Republic and was exercised chiefly by the praetors or judicial magistrates. Strictly
the edict was a pronouncement by the magistrate of the course which he proposed to
take in the administration of his office. It was a sort of post-election platform from
which the citizen might know what to expect from the officer in question. But this
easily became a law governing the administration of his office, and when the
magisterial power was devolved upon the emperor the power of issuing an edict came
to be in substance a power of issuing general orders governing matters of
administration. The term was so used in French public law in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries and was generally used in this sense at the time when Masonic
law was formative. In this same sense we use it in Masonry. An edict is a general
administrative, as distinguished from a judicial order, prescribing the conduct of some
matter of administration, on prescribing the conduct of Masons in some matter of
administrative cognizance. A good example may be seen in the edicts of Grand
Masters in different jurisdictions against the use of cipher rituals.
Finally a Roman emperor made or declared the law by means of rescripts. The rescript
or letter was an answer which the emperor returned to a question put to him by a
judge or magistrate who had a cause pending before him. In the classical Roman
polity the judices who had a cause before them were advised as to the law by the
expert opinion of a jurisconsult. In the imperial polity the emperor was taken to be the
most authoritative jurisconsult and the practice of submitting questions for his
authoritative opinion as to the law was a natural result. This practice passed to the
canon law, where the Papal rescripts had similar authority, and was well known to the
law of continental Europe in the eighteenth century. Naturally it came into Masonic
practice along with other institutions of the time when, in the formative period of
Grand Lodge Masonry, a universal polity had to be set up rapidly. The decisions of
the Grand Master in answer to questions might very well be called rescripts, exactly
as his administrative general orders are called edicts. They are not decisions in a
judicial sense, they are authoritative opinions of the most authoritative jurisconsult of
the craft for the time being. Being mere opinions there is no impropriety in the
practice of many Grand Lodges to which the Grand Master regularly reports his
opinions for review. His decision is not reviewed. Indeed Mackey seems justified in
his position that the decisions of a Grand Master as such are not or at least ought not
to be reviewable. In legal theory what happens might be explained thus: The opinion
of the Grand Master upon the point of law involved in his answer is considered and
the doctrine which it announced is given the force of a constitution by the approval of
the Grand Lodge or else the doctrine is rejected as a rule for the future and some other
rule given legislative authority.
It will be noted that of the four forms of making or declaring the law which were in
use by the Roman emperor, two are appropriate to the Grand Lodge and two to the
Grand Master. In the later Roman imperial polity all the powers of sovereignty were
in the emperor. As the Institutes put it, his will had the force of law. But along with
the imperial Roman conceptions, familiar to the time through the writings of
publicists based on Justinian's law books, another set of conceptions were familiar to
Englishmen at the time when Masonic legal institutions were formative. The memory
of the contests with the Stuart kings was still fresh and in the course of that contest
English lawyers had resurrected and furbished up many ideas that belonged to the
polity of the Plantagenets. Thus the British constitution in the eighteenth century was
a supeiposition, as it were, of what were then modem ideas and institutions upon the
older and radically different ideas and institutions of medieval England. As a result
the balance was maintained chiefly by custom and precedent and respect for
traditional lines between authorities and magistracies with large potentialities of
theoretical jurisdiction. Experience gradually settled the lines and respect for
precedent established them. The same phenomenon is to be seen in the development
of Anglo-American Masonic polity. Legislation by general regulations or
constitutions and the power of judicial decision on appeal, with the incidental power
of so declaring the law, became functions of the Grand Lodge. The more nearly
administrative functions of issuing edicts and rendering what may fairly be called
rescripts became functions of the Grand Master. They can hardly be said to be
common-law powers in the same sense as those universally customary prerogatives
which Mackey sought to establish as Landmarks. No doubt Grand Lodge legislation
may interfere, as it sometimes has done, to abridge or modify them. But it is
significant that with the example of the separation of powers in American public law
constantly before them, American Masonic lawyers have acquiesced in and developed
a system of law-making proceeding on radically different lines and originating in the
law books of Rome.
Direct, deliberate law-making by constitutions is the type of Masonic law-making that
calls chiefly for our attention. Maine tells us that "the capital fact in the mechanism of
modern states is the energy of legislatures." True, the lawyer is somewhat skeptical.
He doubts with good reason the possibility of achieving by law more than a small
fraction of what the promoters of new laws confidently expect. But the layman's faith
in the efficacy of legislative law-making is unbounded and there is no evidence of
abatement of the huge annual output of our political law-making machinery. There are
many causes behind this phenomenon. But one is of special significance for Masonry
and is behind a similar excess of zeal for legislative law-making in too many of our
jurisdictions. The theory that law is the will of the sovereign, that a sovereign
democracy, or its representatives or delegates in its name, can make law by the simple
process of translating its will for the time being into chapters and sections, the magic
words "be it enacted" justifying all that follow, arose by applying to sovereign peoples
the ideas which had been worked out with reference to absolute personal sovereigns.
The will of the emperor had the force of law; hence the will of the people is to have
the force of law. But a confusion was involved here. The emperor owed it to his
subjects to use his will rationally when willing law. The power to give his declarations
of will the force of law did not absolve him from obligation to measure the content of
those declarations by reason. Our fathers were conscious of this with good reason and
so sought to. limit law-making and give security against arbitrary and capricious
action by bills of rights. But these securities are available only within comparatively
narrow limits. So long as the theory of law as will prevails, the flood of law-making
In American Masonry we have very generally a similar situation, as has been said, for
a like reason. For one thing, we have all been trained in the theory that what we will
collectively or in sufficient mass to make a majority is law in substance and only
needs a mechanical process of receiving the legislative guinea stamp to be law in
form. It is very easy to transport this conception to every other connection in which
the word law appears. Is there Masonic law? Then it is to be made by the will of the
Masonic sovereign. Have we a sovereign Masonic body? Go to, let it justify its
existence by making laws. Such ideas confuse exercise of the will as a means and
exercise of the will as an end. The means of making law is the declared will of the
sovereign. But the end of making law is not to enable the sovereign to declare his will.
The end is to conserve values and to secure interests. Delicate processes of weighing
values and cataloguing, appraising, and balancing interests must be gone through with
before the matter is ripe for the declaring will.
Having no bills of rights in Masonry and hence nothing beyond a handful of vaguely
defined Landmarks to restrain him, what then are our barriers against the ravages of
the zealous, energetic, ambitious Masonic law-maker? Legal barriers there are none.
But some of the most sacred interests of life have only moral security and on the
whole do not lose thereby. For example, the claims of husband and wife respectively
to each other's society and affection are left as between the two with no other security
than the moral sense of the community. It is important to ask, therefore, how far there
are agencies for focusing the moral sentiment of the craft upon the Masonic legislator
and making it an effective moral check. One such agency, which has been of no little
service, is the report of the Committee on Correspondence, whereby in so many
jurisdictions the law-making of the Masonic world is reviewed, criticized, and
adjusted, if possible, to general theories of Masonic law. These reports vary greatly in
value. But by and large they are inestimable repositories of Masonic law. Moreover it
must needs give the Masonic innovator pause when he reflects that what he does must
run the gauntlet of critical scrutiny by veteran reviewers upon the Committees on
Correspondence of a majority of our jurisdictions. Another restraining influence is
coming forward with the development of Masonic study. Nothing is so dogmatic as
ignorance. A better and more general acquaintance with the history, philosophy, and
legal traditions of the craft is certain to make our law-makers more cautious, more
intelligent, and more effective. Such comparative studies in Masonic legislation as
those already begun in THE BUILDER* are likely to do much for intelligent law-
making where library facilities are small and law-makers are zealous. But above all
things we must rely upon the principles of Masonry. Let us remember Krause's
formula: "Law is the sum of the external conditions of life measured by reason." Our
measure is to be reason, not will, and all the lessons and symbols of the craft are
eloquent of measurement and restraint.
In conclusion, let me repeat the disclaimer with which I began. I have not sought to
expound the law of the craft at large or of any jurisdiction in particular. I have sought
rather to consider how far there may be said to be such a thing as Masonic
jurisprudence, what materials are at hand for an organized body of knowledge that
may be called appropriately a science of Masonic law, what general principles may be
found for such a science, and in particular how far the problems of legal science
generally may be found in and their solutions may be applied to the law of our craft.
So studied, the subject of Masonic jurisprudence has great possibilities which are as
yet scarcely opened. The ambitious Masonic student who essays any of its problems
as he would a problem of the everyday law, going through our Grand Lodge
proceedings as he would the legal sources, using our texts as he would a legal text
book, reasoning from our traditions as he would from the body of written tradition we
call the common law, will not only be abundantly repaid but will do a service in
helping to make Masonic jurisprudence a reality.
* Advancement vol. Ill, p. 60.
Affiliation, vol. Ill, p. 9.
Ballot for the Degrees, vol. Ill, p. 70.
Dimits, vol. Ill, p. 134.
Physical Qualifications for Initiation, vol. Ill, p. 2~.
SYMBOLISM OF THE THREE DEGREES
BY BRO. OLIVER DAY STREET, ALABAMA
PART IV— THE SYMBOLISM OF THE MASTER MASON DEGREE-
THE FIVE POINTS OF FELLOWSHIP
THE Five Points of Fellowship are symbolized by the Pentalpha, or five pointed star.
The connection of this geometrical figure with the art of building is not at once
apparent, but recent researches show that it entered extensively into determining the
plans of many of the splendid castles and cathedrals of medieval times. To this fact is
probably due its introduction or retention among the symbols of our Speculative Craft,
( 1 )
This figure has, however, from very ancient times borne a moral signification also.
Says a recent writer:
"In the more esoteric philosophy, the symbol is used to designate man, and an
examination of the shape of the figure will shaw that by a stretch of imagination it
may be construed into a crude representation of a human figure." (2)
In this connection it is interesting to note that there exists in England a secret gild of
operative Masons who have a ceremony wherein is represented the mock-
assassination of one of its three Grand Masters. His body is said to be raised and
borne out of the hall on the five points of fellowship in this wise— each seizing an arm
or foot and a fifth under the middle of the body.
The Pentalpha with one of its points elevated, was a symbol of the pure and the
virtuous and a harbinger of good, but with two of its points elevated it became the
accursed Goat of Mendes, which typified Satan and foreboded evil and misfortune. (3)
In England, the Five Points of Fellowship are h. to h., f. to fi, k. to k., b. to b. and h.
over b.(4) It is well known that in the United States we substituted m. to e. for h. to h.
Mackey thinks this change was made at the Baltimore Conference of Grand Fecturers
in 1843, and I am persuaded that the English working is the ancient and correct one.
The winged foot has for ages been the symbol of swiftness, the arm of strength, and
the hand of fidelity. In the center of the Pentalpha as employed by us is usually seen
two hands clasped. This as we learned in the Entered Apprentice degree is the ancient
symbol of the god Fides.(5) It is an appropriate emblem of the fidelity and readiness
to aid each other, which would characterize members of the Masonic Fraternity. Fet it
not be supposed that by assigning symbolical meanings to the persons and incidents of
the legend of Hiram Abif, I thereby mean to deny its reality. I see no reason (and such
seems to be the opinion of most students of Freemasonry) why this legend may not be
based upon a substratum of fact, as probably were those similar legends which
characterized the Ancient Mysteries. That it has undergone many alterations and been
greatly overlaid with fiction is certain, but that it is founded wholly upon fable is not
at all probable.
THE FOST WORD
We next come to consider one of the most abstruse conceptions in Freemasonry. The
allegory of a search for a Fost Word is not a search for any particular word; in fact it
is not even a search for a word at all. The expression "The Word" had significance to
the Jews and other ancient races which is hard for us to comprehend. While not
strictly accurate we shall not be far wrong in saying that to the ancient mind "The
Word" signified all truth, particularly divine truth. To us the most striking and familiar
passage in literature containing this expression is that in St. John, as follows:
"In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, And the Word was
God." Ch. 1
John does not here announce any new doctrine, but one that was perfectly familiar to
the Jewish thought of his day; only his identification of Jesus of Nazareth with the
Word was new. Nor was this expression or this idea by any means confined to the
Jews; it belonged to nearly all ancient philosophy. Among the Greeks it was the
"Logos" a term derived from the Greek verb "lego", to speak; the same root from
which comes our word "Logic", the name of that science by which we determine
That noble attribute of man, the power of articulate speech, whereby his wisdom and
his most abstract thoughts are made known to his fellows, a power so far as we can
see possessed by no other animal, must have in all ages greatly impressed this
thoughtful mind. The spoken word seemed an instrument worthy to be employed by
Deity himself, not only in promulgating divine truth but even in creating all things
that were created. According to ancient ideas Deity v as so omnipotent that he had but
to speak and the thing was done; he said "Let there be light" and there was light; and
that without "The Word" was not anything made that was made.
Hence "The Word" under the development of philosophy, particularly that of Philo
Judaeus, a contemporary of Jesus, became synonymous with every manifestation of
divine power and truth, so that finally it was regarded as not only co-existent with but
metaphorically as identical with Deity himself. This is clearly the meaning of St. John.
The Masonic search for the "Word", therefore, symbolizes the search for truth,
particularly divine truth. The lesson here to us is to search diligently for the truth,
never to permit prejudice, passion or interest to blind us, but to keep our minds always
open to the reception of truth from whatever source, or however opposed to our
preconceived notions it may be; and having seen it and received it, always to act
agreeably to its dictates. Hence Masons everywhere are devoted to the doctrines of
freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom of action.
But we are also cautioned not vaingloriously to imagine that we ever here achieved all
truth. The Master Mason is invested not with the True Word, but with a Substitute
Word, implying that in this life we may know only in part, that we may approach, we
may approximate truth, but that we never attain it in its perfection. This search shall
continue as long as this life lasts, but not until we shall have passed on to a higher
state of existence will divine truth be disclosed to us in all its fullness and beauty. I
may say here that this final disclosure is symbolized in the Royal Arch degree.
The preservation of this extremely ancient conception of "The Word" is not without
historic value also as indicating the great antiquity of Masonic symbolism. (6)
THE MARBLE MONUMENT
Incidental to this legend of Hiram Abif are introduced certain other symbols. For
example, the virgin weeping over the broken column, an urn in her left hand and a
sprig of evergreen in her right, and an old man behind her dressing her hair. Masons
are familiar with the explanation of this group given in our ritual, but I am persuaded
that it is very superficial to say the least.
In the Egyptian Mysteries, as we have seen, Isis finds her husband's body encased in a
tamarisk, or acacia tree, which the King of Byblos converts into a column. This
column, still containing the body, is finally carried away and broken by Isis and the
body released. We can readily imagine her weeping over this broken column.
Apulieus (second century, A. D.) describes her as a "beautiful female, over whose
divine neck her long thick hair hung in graceful ringlets," and in a procession
depicting her are shown female attendants following who are combing and dressing
The urn is an ancient sign of mourning. A small urn in which figuratively to catch the
tears was worn by the mourners, especially widows. This explanation of the presence
of the um in this emblem, as a symbol of grief, better accords with our tradition as to
the disposal of our Grand Master, as well as with history, than does that given in our
Master's lecture. We know that it was a well nigh universal custom of the Jews as well
as the Egyptians to bury and not to cremate their dead. Likewise from ancient times it
was common for the mourner to bear in the hand to the place of interment an
evergreen sprig and there to deposit it in the grave as an avowal of belief in a life to
come. It seems to me that in these ancient traditions and customs is to be found the
true origin of our Marble Monument (7) and that this emblem signifies that, while we
mourn for, and cherish the memory of our dead, yet we believe that they shall live and
that we shall see them again.
THE SETTING MAUL
The Setting Maul is a wooden instrument used in setting firmly into the wall the
polished stone, and is one of those traditionally said to have been used at the building
of Solomon's Temple. It would very properly be in the hands of the three Fellow
Crafts, who are in the third degree reputed to have made a notable use of it just before
the completion of the Temple. From that incident it is employed among us as an
emblem the meaning of which is known to every Master Mason.
It has, however, in different forms been employed as a symbol of destruction from
prehistoric times. In Norse mythology, Thor, the god of Thunder, was represented as a
powerful man armed with a mighty hammer, Miolnir (the smasher). Counteiparts of
this god and his formidable weapon are found in many of the ancient religions and
In the Cabiric Mysteries the seven gods who slew the eighth were called "Paticii", or
wielders of the hammer.
It was a custom of the Jews to plant at the head of the grave an acacia sprig for the
double purpose of intimating their belief in immortality and of marking its location, as
to tread on a grave was by them regarded as extremely unlucky. To them, therefore,
the acacia was, as it is to us, an emblem of immortality and of innocence. The true
acacia is the thorny tamarisk which abounds in Palestine, and we have seen that
strangely enough in the legend of Osiris his dead body was said to have been cast
ashore at the foot of a tamarisk or acacia tree, and that this circumstance led to its
discovery. This tree, owing to its hard-wood quality, its evergreen nature and its
exceeding tenacity of life bore to the Egyptian and Jew the same symbolical
significance it does to us. Of its wood was constructed the tabernacle, the table for the
shew-bread, the ark of the covenant and the rest of the sacred furniture of the Temple,
and of its boughs was woven the crown of thorns that was placed upon the head of
Jesus of Nazareth.
Each of the Ancient Mysteries possessed a sacred plant which was employed in their
initiations and ceremonies for the same purpose and with the same symbolical
significance as the acacia is by us. Among the Egyptians it was the Lotus and the
Erica, among the Greeks the Myrtle, and among the Scandinavians the Mistletoe. That
a tree or plant had life-giving properties was an idea familiar to the Jews in the earliest
times, as witness the Tree of Life mentioned in Genesis, and by New Testament
writers the immortality of man is likened to the recurrence of plant life. (I Cor. 15;
John 12, 24). 8
THE POT OF BURNING INCENSE
The Pot of Burning Incense was employed in Solomon's Temple to produce a sweet
savor in the Holy of Holies, that is to say, according to the Jewish conceptions, in the
actual presence of J H V H. It is not supposable that the intelligent Jew regarded this
as other than symbolical of the offer of a pure heart as a sacrifice to the Deity. The
bloody sacrifices of bullocks, lambs and goats, as well as the peace and sin offerings,
were offered in less sacred precincts of the Temple and probably meant no more than
to impress the people that they should be ever generous in dedicating their earthly
wealth to the service of God and the hastening of his Kingdom, but the pure,
immaterial offering of a delightful incense was to remind them that after all the only
sacrifice worthy of Deity himself was the spiritual and immaterial offering of a pure
THE BEE HIVE
To the operative Mason could anything be more important than industry ? By it he
lives, and by it were reared those dreams of architectural beauty which excite our
wonder and please our fancy.
Is it any less necessary to the speculative Mason in his work of building human
character ? Is it not far more so ? The temple of human life is incomplete unless every
talent and every virtue is brought to the highest possible state. A few years at most
suffice to complete and adorn our greatest structures. If the builder die before it is
finished, others can carry it on to completion after him. But the time alloted to no man
was ever sufficient for the complete development of all the possibilities of his mind
and character. If he die before the work is finished, none can take it up and finish it for
him. How important, therefore, is it that not a moment of our time, that most precious
gift, should be wasted?
In all nature nothing is more constantly busy than the bee, and from ancient times it
has been an emblem of industry. "Busy as a bee" has become an aphorism. A place of
great industry we call a hive, and while I do not find it to have been employed in
ancient symbolism, no symbol of labor could be more appropriate than a bee hive.
Masonry in every degree, and in none more than the Master's degree, signifies labor.
Its very name is synonymous with labor and its very implement reminiscent of labor.
Toil is noble, idleness dishonour. Deity himself is recorded as having worked and we
see on every hand the Titanic results of his labor. He reared the mountains, He laid
down the plains, He made the rivers and the seas; the very smallest of these beyond
the capabilities of millions of men. He deposited the rich ore in the bosom of the
earth. He stocked the waters with fish and the land with an infinite variety of
vegetation and living animals both great and small. Finally He made man; not a single
man, but millions, yea billions, of men; about every thirty-five years He makes one
and a half billions, four and a half billions to the century, or about ninety billions since
the birth of Christ. How many hundreds of thousands of billions he made before we
cannot even surmise. But this is a manifestation of only one phase of His unceasing
and prodigious activity. In thousands of other forms, it displays itself in equally
staggering figures. If anyone ever conceived of God as an idler, let him get that notion
out of his head. If He rested on the seventh day, we may be sure that He began work
again on the eighth. We can understand the value of the grub and even the boll-
weevil, but the utility of the sluggard in the economy of this universe is beyond the
perception of man, unless it be to afford us an example of something to be avoided.
The Book of Constitutions guarded by the Tyler's sword may be, as is claimed, a new
emblem among us, but the virtue it commemorates, silence, is an old and excellent
one. How much better it would be if we thought more and talked less. This virtue
seems to have been more prized by the ancients than by us. The disciples of many of
the ancient philosophers were required to practice absolute silence for long periods of
probation, and so important was it deemed in their religious and philosophical systems
that to it was allotted a special deity, Harpocrates, who was represented as full of eyes
and ears, signifying that many things are to be seen and heard but little to be spoken.
( 9 )
THE ALL SEEING EYE
The All Seeing Eye is a very old symbol of Deity. The Egyptians represented Osiris,
their chief god, by an open eye, which they placed in all his temples. The idea was
also familiar to the Jews, for we read in Psalms (xxxiv, 15) that "The eyes of Jehovah
are upon the righteous," and (cxxi, 4) that "he that keepeth Israel shall neither sleep
nor slumber." In Proverbs (xv, 3) Solomon says "The eyes of Jehovah are in every
place watching the evil and the good." This symbol was to the Egyptians and the Jews
the same that it is to us, the symbol of Deity manifested in his omnipresence and
omniscience. To us it is a warning that things we would not do before the eyes of
men, yet do in secret, are nevertheless beheld by an eye that can explore our
innermost thoughts and will witness against us before a tribunal where there are no
perjured witnesses nor miscarriages of justice. (10)
THE ANCHOR AND THE ARK
The Ark as a symbol in the third degree has been supposed by some to refer to the
Jewish Ark of the Covenant, but others with more reason think it refers to the Ark of
Noah. All the Ancient Mysteries seem to have contained allusions more or less clear
to the Deluge and Noah's Ark. There being so many other symbols common to
Masonry and the Mysteries, it is not suiprising to find the Ark also employed as a
Masonic symbol. To the pre-Christian ages, the idea of a regeneration, or a new birth,
was as familiar as it is to us. In the Ancient Mysteries, we are best able to judge, the
tradition of the Deluge and the Ark, by which the human race was reputed to have
been both purified and perpetuated, was in a variety of forms employed to teach this
doctrine of regeneration.
In the Funeral Ritual of the Egyptians, it is by means of he Ark or boat that the
deceased passed to Aahlu or the place of the blessed in Amend. (11) We are all
familiar with the Greian myth which represents Charon as ferrying the shades of the
departed over the river Styx. Thus it is seen that the Ark has for ages been the symbol
of the passage from this world to the next. We attach to it a very similar meaning, it
symbolizes to that power or influence by which we are fitted for and raised a higher
state of existence in the life that is to come. (12)
The anchor does not seem to have belonged to ancient symbolism. Paul appears first
to have employed it as an emblem of hope of immortality and bliss after this life (Heb.
i, 19.) Kip, in his Catacombs of Rome, says that the primitive Christians looked upon
life as a stormy voyage and that of their safe safe arrival in port the anchor was a
symbol. Mrs. Jameson says that the anchor is the Christian symbol of immovable
firmness, hope and patience. Though apparently of Christian origin as a symbol, there
is nothing narrow or sectarian in its significance, and it may with equal propriety be
employed by Jew and Gentile, as well as by all others who share in the belief of a
peaceful place of abode hereafter for those who have made a proper use of this life.
In the symbol of the Anchor and Ark we, therefore, see gain pressed upon our
attention the doctrines of Deity, the Mediator, regeneration, resurrection and
THE FORTY- SEVENTH PROBLEM OF EUCLID
The Forty- Seventh Problem of Euclid is the earliest Masonic symbol we have on
record; it appears as the frontispiece to Anderson's "Book of Constitutions," published
at London in 1723, accompanied by the word "Eureka" in Greek characters. It will be
understood that prior to this date only one book on Freemasonry had been printed, and
not till three-quarters of a century later did our Monitors contain illustrations of the
emblems and symbols. So it happens that the Forty-Seventh Problem is absolutely, so
far as is known, the earliest illustration of Masonic symbol on record.
In the text of the same book it is declared to be "if duly observed, the foundation of all
Masonry, sacred, civil and military," (p. 23) and in the second edition of this work
(1738), he speaks of it as that "amazing proposition which is the foundation of all
Masonry, of whatever materials or dimensions" (p. 26). This figure is known by a
variety of names. The Theorem of Pythagoras, the Theorem of the Bride, and the
Theorem of the Three Squares. It was also known as the Gnomon, the Greek word for
knowledge, and Plato in his Commonwealth, denominates it the "Nuptial Figure." To
our fathers in their school days, it was an object of dread, as the "Pons Assinorum," or
the Bridge of Asses.
The remarkable properties of the right-angled triangle are well known to those who
have studied geometry. Astronomers also are acquainted with its value; with it they
measure the universe. Its usefulness is understood by architects and builders. Even
those mechanics who are so ignorant that they do not know that a figure whose three
sides are to each other as 3, 4 and 5 is a right-angled triangle, yet are aware of its
convenience in making comers of a building perfectly square. When they measure
three feet along one wall and four feet along the other, if five feet will exactly reach
across, they know that the comer is square. These things were well understood by
ancient and medieval operative Masons, and they constituted a part of their trade
But it is equally certain that to this beautiful triangle they ascribed moral and
philosophical (not to say religions) meanings which are now little understood by us.
Of this figure Brother G. W. Speth says "it is certain that, while our medieval brethren
may have been familiar with its symbolical meaning, we are not." (14) We are merely
told in our monitors that "it teaches Masons to be general lovers of the arts and
sciences." Perhaps this is true, but we are given no hint as to why or how it does so.
The deeper meanings of this symbol are wholly lost except to those who have made it
a special study. Much of it I believe is lost beyond the hope of recovery.
It is a curious fact, the psychological reason for which is not known, that dimensions
increasing by half (e.g. a rectangle 20x30, a solid 20x30x45), and the ratios of the
base, perpendicular and hypothenuse of a right-angled triangle whose sides are as 3, 4,
5, are very pleasing to the eye. The equilateral triangle in ways not now fully
understood seems also to enter into the element of proportion in successful
Odd as it may appear that geometrical figures such as points, lines, superficies and
solids, angles, triangles, squares and circles should be invested with such meaning, yet
the fact is undoubted. The ancient moral philosophers attached what appears to us an
inordinate importance to geometry and geometrical figures.
Plato, the greatest of philosophers, wrote 400 years before Christ on the porch of his
academy, "Let no one who is ignorant of geometry enter my doors." He taught that
God was "always geometrizing," and that "geometry rightly treated is the knowledge
of the Eternal." (15) At his time, geometry was the only exact science (arithmetic
being not yet invented); hence, quite naturally a knowledge of this science was
deemed indispensable to one in search of philosophical truth. To Pythagoras, all the
ancient writers give credit for first having raised geometry to the rank of a science,
and Proclus tells us that he "regarded its principles in a purely abstract manner and
investigated his theorems from the immaterial and intellectual point of viewed." (16)
In short, "from the earliest times, the knowledge of geometry was looked upon not
only as the foundation of all knowledge but even by the Greek philosophers as the
very essence of their religion, the knowledge of God." (17)
Numerous echoes of this ancient veneration for geometry are preserved in
Freemasonry, thus affording further evidence of its great age. But of all geometrical
figures the right-angled triangle, or set-square, was most revered by the ancients. It
has from extremely remote ages and among extremely remote peoples borne profound
Confucius, the great Chinese teacher, tells us (481 B. C.) that not till he was seventy-
five years old "could he venture to follow the inclination of his heart without fear of
transgressing the limits of the square." (18)
In a Chinese book written between 500 B.C. and 300 B.C., called "The Great
Learning" we are told that a man should not do unto another what he would not
should be done to himself; "and this," it is there said, "is called the principle of acting
upon the square." (19)
It is, to say the least, a strange coincidence that the Greek word for square, "gnomon,"
also means knowledge and that the initial of this word, the Greek letter gamma is a
perfect setsquare. As said by Brother Sidney T. Klein, a distinguished Mason and
architect of England, to the ancients "geometry was the foundation of knowledge and
gnomon was the knowledge of the square." (20)
In the symbolical writings of the Egyptians thousands of years ago, the square or
right-angled triangle was the standard and symbol of perfection; it was also the
symbol of life. (21)
The ancients taught a very peculiar philosophy. According to their ideas Nature was
tripartite, masculine, feminine, and offspring. This conception was applied in an
endless variety of ways The sun was regarded as masculine or active; the moon as
feminine or passive and Mercury as the offspring. So the ancient Egyptian Trinity
consisted of Osiris the father, Isis the mother, and Her-ra, or Homs, the son. To
represent this conception of Deity they employed a right-angled triangle whose sides
were in the proportion of 3, 4 and 5, wherein the shortest side, 3, represented Osiris, 4
represented Isis, and 5, the resulting hypothenuse, represented Her-ra, the son, or the
result of the union of the male and the female. This figure, therefore, became an
emblem of life.
But as it also represented Nature, and as they were wise enough to see that Nature
uninterferred with was perfect, this figure became the recognized symbol of
This implement so useful among operative Masons in testing the perfection of the
work was, therefore, appropriately adopted by them as symbolical of that perfection
which should mark the temple of human character. This symbolical square is the
instrument by which all mental, moral and religious conduct is tested.
THE HOUR GLASS
Rev. A. F. A. Woodford, a distinguished Masonic scholar of England, expressed the
opinion that the Hour Glass is not, strictly speaking, a Masonic symbol. This is
probably based upon the fact that evidence is wanting of its ancient employment as a
symbol. The antiquity of its use as a measure of time is, however, undoubted, and it is
a most fit emblem of the flight of time and of the wasting away of our lives. If it is a
recent acquisition to our ritual, we will not quarrel with the monitor maker who
introduced it. (22)
In ancient symbolism, the scythe was one of the attributes of Saturn because he was
reputed to have taught men agriculture. But Saturn was also the god of Time, and, as
by another ancient myth human life was said to be a brittle thread spun by the three
Fates, it is natural that this peaceful implement of agriculture should become the
symbol of the power that severs the slender thread and puts an end to our existence.
To us the coffin is an obvious emblem of death, but it has sometimes been claimed
that it would not be so to the Jews, who anciently buried their dead in shrouds and
winding sheets only. But in the Ancient Mysteries of those peoples surrounding the
Jews the candidate was placed in a coffin or chest as a symbolical representation of
death. This custom, as well as the use by Egyptians of the coffin for burial, was
undoubtedly well known to the Jews whether they practiced it or not.
The ancient symbolism of the coffin seems to have been intimately connected with
that of the Ark. In fact in Hebrew the word aron denoted both. But the subject is too
recondite to be entered upon further at this time. (24)
Some have questioned whether those engaged in the operative art of building could
comprehend such abstruse symbolism as that I have herein attempted to outline.
Whether they understood it or not, it is certain that they, at least those of them
engaged in temple and church building, employed it. The important structures devoted
to purposes of worship, from the most ancient period through medieval to modem
times, abound in symbolism. It is doubtless tme that many of these operative
workmen did not know the meanings of their own symbols, just as many speculative
Masons do not now know them. But we must bear in mind that operative Masonry in
ancient and medieval times did embrace classes that well may be supposed to have
understood them. They were in the closest association with the priestly and monastic
orders to whom we are indebted for most of the learning of the ancients which has
come down to us. Architecture and its kindred sciences were until comparatively
recent times the most honorable of all callings.
Brother Albert Pike claims that "during the splendor of medieval operative Masonry
the art of building stood above all other arts, and made all others subservient to it; that
it commanded the services of the most brilliant intellects and of the greatest artists."
It must be admitted that men like these were capable of appreciating and preserving
the most refined symbolism. Brother Pike further declares that they "reveled in
symbolism of the most recondite kind; that geometry was the handmaid of symbolism;
that it may be said that symbolism is speculative geometry." (26)
Brother Gould has admitted his belief that the Masons of the fourteenth century, or
earlier, were capable of understanding and did understand to a greater extent than
ourselves the meaning of a great part of the symbolism which has descended from
ancient to Modem Masonry.
In conclusion, permit me to say, that for every statement herein contained there is
respectable Masonic authority. It is not claimed, however, that on none of these
questions is there difference of opinion. Where this is the case, I have been compelled
simply to adopt that new which appeared to me most reasonable, and did not have
time always to state the different views and the reasons-for each. This each student
must do for himself. My expectation has not been to accomplish more than to arouse
in some, if not all, of you, a curiosity to learn more of our beautiful and instructive
(1) Yarker's Arcane Schools, pp. 118, 119.
(2) Tyler Keystone, Oct. 5, 1909, p. 161.
(3) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, vol. 1, pp. 31, 61; vol. VIII, pp. 90, 105: Universal
Masonic Library, vol. VI (2), p. 62.
(4) Emulation, pp. Ill, 112.
(5) Mackey's Symbolism, pp. 67, 190: Morals and Dogma, p. 88.
(6) Morals and Dogma, pp. 204, 261, 264, 266; 269, 268, 269, 270, 279, 281;
Edersheim's Life of Jesus, pp. 46, 66: Mackey's Symbolism, pp. 176, 197, 216, 224,
226, 232, 280, 298, 300.
(7) Morals and Dogma, pp. 17 80 378, 887.
(8) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum vol. I, p. 67; vol. IV, p. 48: vol. VI, pp. 9. 14: Mackey's
Encyclopedia, pp. 6, 8, 9: Mackey's Lexicon of Freemasonry, D. 16 Masonic
Magazine, vol. I, p. 126; Morals and
Dogma, p. 82; Kenning, p. 4; Tyler Keystone, Aug. 20, 1908, p. 78:
Universal Masonic Library, vol. X, p. 83
(9) Lodge of Research "Masonic Reprints," No, 1, p. 42: Morals and Dogma, pp. 106,
(10) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, vol. IV, p. 43; Kenning, p. 18; Mackey's
Encyclopedia, pp. 9, 67: Mackey's Lexicon of Freemasonry, p. 29.
(11) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, vol. II, p 24.
(12) Idem, vol. I, p. 31 Mackey's Encyclopedia, p. 64 Mackey's Lexicon of
Freemasonry, D. 46, Universal Masonic Library, vol. VIII, p. 7, vol. X, p. 64.
(13) Mackey's Encyclopedia, p. 64.
(14) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, vol. Ill, p. 27.
(15) Idem, vol. X, D. 83.
(17) Idem p. 91.
(18) Idem vol. XIV, D. 30.
(19) Idem, p. 31.
(20) Idem, vol. X, pp. 84, 92.
(21) Idem, p. 93.
(22) Kenning, p. 318; Mackey's Encyclopedia, p. 700.
(23) Mackey's Encyclopedia, p. 700.
(24) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, vol. 1, p. 81, vol. Ill, pp. 59, 40 Mackey'
Encyclopedia, p. 64 Mackey's Lexicon of Freemasonry, pp. 93, 641.
(25) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, vol. Ill, D. 16.
(26) Idem, p. 16.
FREEMASONRY AND IMMORTALITY
BY BRO. JOSEPH BARNETT, CALIFORNIA
CONCERNING the Immortality of the Soul, Freemasonry offers no argument. It
states the principle as an unquestioned integral part of the Institution. The hope that
life does not end with the physical body, but continues through a boundless future, has
through past ages been an inspiration to brightness of life, patience, perseverance and
process. As a life force it has throbbed through the inertia of savage existence and
quickened man to those extraordinary efforts that produced civilization. A shining
pillar of cloud by day, of fire by night, the beacon of humanity is Immortality.
Long before the written Word of Revelation, men had seen its prototype in the forces
of nature. Eternal life was written on the midnight skies in the constancy of the
constellations, on the gracious face of earth in recurring forms of beauty in the
springtime, and on the azure deeps of heaven in the daily miracle of the morning sun.
And with the dream of eternity quite naturally came to be associated the idea of a
The Resurrection of the Body is a doctrine dear to human hearts. Through the
influence of heredity, it has become an instinctive expectation. Its prototypes still
appeal to us, religious sects teach it, literature has engraven it on its pages, love and
hope have enshrined it, and human beings probably have a more distinct vision of its
meaning than of any strictly spiritual idea.
In ancient times, hierarchies magnified its importance till it became the most
impressive element of religious belief. It was taught of old that every soul was to pass
through purgatorial processes in the under world; and that the soul found worthy
would eventually return to earth, perfected, to re-inhabit the old physical body, and
thereafter live under more favorable conditions than in the former life. In order that
the returning spirit might have as little trouble as possible in finding and occupying
the body, the dead were embalmed and placed in vaults as carefully prepared as
homes. This curious idea of the outcome of immortality has its present day
counterpart in hierarchical opposition to cremation, and in priestly exercising and
blessing of burial places of the faithful. Freemasonry does not discuss re-incamation
of the immortal spirit, except mentioning it as one of Mackey's Landmarks. What
Freemasonry asserts is that the spirit is immortal.
It was also taught of old that, if, after repeated opportunities, a soul was not amenable
to purgatorial improvement, it was at last annihilated by a flaming ray on the steps of
the underworld. Modem priestcraft has built up a doctrinal system of punishments in
the spirit world that, to be effective, would logically require a physical body. Burning
brimstone and immortal spirits are not co-ordinates. Freemasonry does not speculate
on the question. It teaches that men should be good and tme, not through fear, but
because their claim of Divine relationship makes uprightness of life a natural attitude.
While men may generally allow that the progress made in our lifetime bears some
relation to our progress in eternity, priestcraft has urged that it bears an exceptional
and disproportionate relation. In ancient Egypt, this idea was so successfully exploited
by the priesthood that almost every act in the daily life of the people had its rigid rules
established and was constantly scrutinized by the temple authorities. And national life
and thought became so crystallized into unchanging, and eventually meaningless,
habits and customs, that in the end it checked progress and helped to min the nation.
In modem times, we see its imitation in the lingering imposition of the Confessional,
Friday fasting, and similar petty superstitions. Freemasonry teaches that the hope of
immortality should free man from superstition, and encourage him of his own free
will and accord so to shape his life that it shall be fitted to be a living stone in the
Temple of Life.
Ancient religious systems classed kings with the immortal gods, whose mouthpieces
and privileged representatives the priesthood claimed to be. They divided the people
into classes, and established a caste system with the priesthood at the head. Today, we
see the reflection of this in the Divine Right of kings and the still more audacious
pretensions of pontiffs. Freemasonry classes kings, priests and princes with all other
men; it strips away the artificial attributes of power, wealth and caste, and declares all
men equal because they are all children of the Supreme Father. This has an interesting
parallel in the claim of equal civil rights in our Declaration of Independence. Both
Freemasonry and our Republic are a constant protest against autocracy.
Priestcraft has declared some of the great and good of the past to be saints, beings
with direct and special relations to humanity, and with special influence in Heaven.
Freemasonry recognizes the debt we owe to men of the past, men who lived in less
favorable times than ours, but still sought the light of knowledge, strove valiantly for
progress, and endeavored in their lives to justify their claim of Divine relationship.
The aspiring spirit in men today recognizes a similar fervency in men of the past, and
holds all such in esteem, not after the superstitious manner of priestcraft, but only in
so far as the memory of their example may influence us also to be faithful, just and
On the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul, Freemasonry represents: not a threat,
but a promise; not fears, but hopes; not autocracy, but liberty.
FOR THE MONTHLY LODGE MEETING
CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN — No. 22 DEVOTED TO
ORGANIZED MASONIC STUDY Edited by Bro. H. L. Haywood
THE BULLETIN COURSE OF MASONIC STUDY FOR MONTHLY LODGE
MEETINGS AND STUDY CLUBS
FOUNDATION OF THE COURSE
THE Course of Study has for its foundation two sources of Masonic information:
THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia. In another paragraph is explained how
the references to former issues of THE BUILDER and to Mackey's Encyclopedia may
be worked up as supplemental papers to exactly fit into each installment of the Course
with the papers by Brother Haywood.
The Course is divided into five principal divisions which are in turn subdivided, as is
Division I. Ceremonial Masonry. A. The Work of a Lodge. B. The Lodge and the
Candidate. C. First Steps. D. Second Steps. E. Third Steps.
Division II. Symbolical Masonry. A. Clothing. B. Working Tools. C. Furniture. D.
Architecture. E. Geometry. F. Signs. G. Words. H. Grips.
Division III. Philosophical Masonry. A. Foundations. B. Virtues. C. Ethics. D.
Religious Aspect. E. The Quest. F. Mysticism. G. The Secret Doctrine.
Division IV. Legislative Masonry. A. The Grand Lodge. 1. Ancient Constitutions. 2.
Codes of Law. 3. Grand Lodge Practices. 4. Relationship to Constituent Lodges. 5.
Official Duties and Prerogatives. B. The Constituent Lodge. 1. Organization. 2.
Qualifications of Candidates. 3. Initiation, Passing and Raising. 4. Visitation. 5.
Change of Membership.
Division V. Historical Masonry.
A. The Mysteries— Earliest Masonic Light. B. Studies of Rites— Masonry in the
Making. C. Contributions to Lodge Characteristics. D. National Masonry. E.
Parallel Peculiarities in Lodge Study. F. Feminine Masonry. G. Masonic Alphabets.
H. Historical Manuscripts of the Craft. I. Biographical Masonry. J. Philological
Masonry-Study of Significant Words.
THE MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS
Each month we are presenting a paper written by Brother Haywood, who is following
the foregoing outline. We are now in "First Steps" of Ceremonial Masonry. There will
be twelve monthly papers under this particular subdivision. On page two, preceding
each installment, will be given a list of questions to be used by the chairman of the
Committee during the study period which will bring out every point touched upon in
Whenever possible we shall reprint in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin articles
from other sources which have a direct bearing upon the particular subject covered by
Brother Haywood in his monthly paper. These articles should be used as supplemental
papers in addition to those prepared by the members from the monthly list of
references. Much valuable material that would otherwise possibly never come to the
attention of many of our members will thus be presented.
The monthly installments of the Course appearing in the Correspondence Circle
Bulletin should be used one month later than their appearance. If this is done the
Committee will have opportunity to arrange their programs several weeks in advance
of the meetings and the Brethren who are members of the National Masonic Research
Society will be better enabled to enter into the discussions after they have read over
and studied the installment in THE BUILDER.
REFERENCES FOR SUPPLEMENTAL PAPERS
Immediately preceding each of Brother Haywood's monthly papers in the
Correspondence Circle Bulletin will be found a list of references to THE BUILDER
and Mackey's Encyclopedia. These references are pertinent to the paper and will
either enlarge upon many of the points touched upon or bring out new points for
reading and discussion. They should be assigned by the Committee to different
Brethren who may compile papers of their own from the material thus to be found, or
in many instances the articles themselves or extracts therefrom may be read directly
from the originals. The latter method may be followed when the members may not
feel able to compile original papers, or when the original may be deemed appropriate
without any alterations or additions.
HOW TO ORGANIZE FOR AND CONDUCT THE STUDY MEETINGS
The Lodge should select a "Research Committee" preferably of three "live" members.
The study meetings should be held once a month, either at a special meeting of the
Lodge called for the puipose, or at a regular meeting at which no business (except the
Lodge routine) should be transacted-all possible time to be given to the study period.
After the Lodge has been opened and all routine business disposed of, the Master
should turn the Lodge over to the Chairman of the Research Committee. This
Committee should be fully prepared in advance on the subject for the evening. All
members to whom references for supplemental papers have been assigned should be
prepared with their papers and should also have a comprehensive grasp of Brother
PROGRAM FOR STUDY MEETINGS
1 . Reading of the first section of Brother Haywood's paper and the supplemental
(Suggestion: While these papers are being read the members of the Lodge should
make notes of any points they may wish to discuss or inquire into when the discussion
is opened. Tabs or slips of paper similar to those used in elections should be
distributed among the members for this puipose at the opening of the study period.)
2. Discussion of the above.
3. The subsequent sections of Brother Haywood's paper and the supplemental papers
should then be taken up, one at a time, and disposed of in the same manner.
4. Question Box.
MAKE THE "QUESTION BOX" THE FEATURE OF YOUR MEETINGS
Invite questions from any and all Brethren present. Let them understand that these
meetings are for their particular benefit and get them into the habit of asking all the
questions they may think of. Every one of the papers read will suggest questions as to
facts and meanings which may not perhaps be actually covered at all in the paper. If at
the time these questions are propounded no one can answer them, SEND THEM IN
TO US. All the reference material we have will be gone through in an endeavor to
supply a satisfactory answer. In fact we are prepared to make special research when
called upon, and will usually be able to give answers within a day or two. Please
remember, too, that the great Library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa is only a few miles
away, and, by order of the Trustees of the Grand Lodge, the Grand Secretary places it
at our disposal on any query raised by any member of the Society.
The foregoing information should enable local Committees to conduct their Lodge
study meetings with success. However, we shall welcome all inquiries and
communications from interested Brethren concerning any phase of the plan that is not
entirely clear to them, and the services of our Study Club Department are at the
command of our members, Lodge and Study Club Committees at all times.
QUESTIONS ON "THE APRON."
From the following questions the Committee should select, some time prior to the
evening of the study meeting, the particular questions that they may wish to use at
their meeting which will bring out the points in the following paper which they desire
to discuss. Even were but a few minutes devoted to the discussion of each of the
questions given it will be seen that it would be impossible to discuss all of them in the
period of time devoted to the study meeting. The wide variety of questions here given
will afford individual committees an opportunity to arrange their program to suit their
own fancies and also furnish additional material for a second study meeting each
month if desired by the members.
In conducting the study periods the Chairman should endeavor to hold the discussions
closely to the text and not permit the members to speak too long at one time or to stray
onto another subject. Whenever it becomes evident that discussion is turning from the
original subject the Chairman should request the speaker to make a note of the
particular point or phase of the matter he wishes to discuss or inquire into, and bring it
up when the Question Box period is open.
I Why has the apron been interpreted so variously? Give a list of the interpretations
you have heard. Why is it dangerous to seek for symbolisms in the present shape and
size of the apron? How long has it had its present shape and size? If the shape and size
has changed from time to time is it safe to build any symbolism thereon?
II Can you give any examples of non-Masonic use of the apron not mentioned in the
text? Why, do you suppose, has the apron been so widely used ? Why did the
Operative Mason wear an apron? What do you imagine its material and size to have
been ? If it was once of leather, why ? Why was it changed to its present material ?
Why is the apron we usually wear in lodge of material different from that given to us
during initiation ? What led Speculative Masons to change its material and shape?
Give usual dimensions of aprons as worn in American lodges. Why are they
sometimes varied for different degrees and offices ?
ITT What is a badge? What is the badge of a Mason? What is the difference between a
badge and an emblem ? A symbol? Has the Masonic use of the apron done anything to
wear down the old prejudice against manual labor? Why were men ever so
prejudiced? How long has it been since the prejudice began to break down? What
were the causes ? What are the labors of a Mason ? Are they of any great value to
IV In what way is the apron as now used the symbol of sacrifice and innocence? Why
have men so frequently thought of white as a symbol of innocence? Give examples of
the early use of the color as such symbol. What is the meaning of innocence? How
can a grown man be innocent? What is the Masonic meaning of innocence?
V What do you think of Brothel Crowe's argument as given in the text? Why is the
lamb the symbol of sacrifice? Can you give examples from the Bible of such a
meaning ? What is sacrifice? Why is sacrifice necessary? What is a Mason's
What was the Golden Fleece? The Roman Eagle? Star and Garter ? Why is the apron
more ancient and honorable than these ? How would it affect human society if all men
accepted the Masonic meaning of toil, innocence and sacrifice?
Mackey's Encyclopedia: Apron, p. 72.
THE BUILDER: Vol. I— The Apron (poem) p. 222; Meaning of, and Presentation of
the Apron, p. 236.
Vol. II— The Master's Apron, (poem) p. 4; Symbolism of the Apron, (poem) p. 360;
The Lambskin or White Leather Apron, (poem) p. 215.
Vol. Ill— On Presenting the Lambskin Apron, (poem) p. 8; The White Leather Apron,
(poem) p. 19; The Apron, 74; The Apron Lecture, (poem) p. 128; The Apron, True
Clothing of a Mason, Dec. C. C. B. p. 4.
Vol. IV— Symbolism of the Three Degrees— The Apron, p. 239; Symbolism in the
Apron, this issue.
FIRST STEPS BY BRO. H.L. HAYWOOD, IOWA
PART X - THE APRON
HAVING been privileged to read a great deal of Masonic literature we may say that
on no other one symbol has so much nonsense been written. It has been made to mean
a thousand and one things, from the fig leaf worn by Adam and Eve to the last
mathematical theory of the Fourth Dimension; and there is little to cause wonder that
the intelligent have been scandalized and common men bewildered. If an
interpretation can be made that steers a safe course between the folly of the learned
and the fanaticism of the ignorant it will have some value, whatever may be said of its
own intrinsic worth. Warned by the many who have fallen into the pit of unreason we
shall be wise to walk warily and theorize carefully.
Speaking generally, and without the slightest hint of disrespect of our fellow workers
in this field, it may be said that a majority of the wildest theories have been based on
the shape of the Apron, a thing of comparatively recent origin and due to a mere
historical accident. The body of it, as now worn, is approximately square in shape and
thus has suggested the symbolism of the square, the right-angle and the cube, and all
arising therefrom; its flap is triangular and this has suggested the symbolism of the
triangle, the Fortyseventh Proposition, and the pyramid; the descent of the flap over
the body of the Apron has also given rise to reasonings equally ingenious. By this
method of interpretation men have read into it all manner of things, the mythology of
the Mysteries, the metaphysics of India, the dream- walking of the Kabala, and the
Occultism of Magic. Meanwhile it has been forgotten that the Apron is a Masonic
symbol and that we are to find out what it is intended to mean rather than what it may,
under the stress of our lust for fancifulness, be made to mean. When the Ritual is
consulted, as it always deserves to be, we find that it treats the Apron (1) as an
inheritance from the past, (2) as the Badge of a Mason, (3) as the emblem of
innocence and sacrifice.
1 . The Apron is an inheritance from the past.
For one purpose or another, and in some form, the Apron has been used for three or
four thousand years. In at least one of the Ancient Mysteries, that of Mithras, the
candidate was invested with a white Apron. So also was the initiate of the Essenes,
who received it during the first year of his membership in that order, and it is
significant that many of the statues of Greek and Egyptian gods were so omated, as
may still be seen. Chinese secret societies, in many cases, also used it, and the
Persians, at one-time, employed it as their national banner. Jewish prophets often
wore Aprons, as did the early Christian candidates for baptism, and as ecclesiastical
dignitaries of the present day still do. The same custom is found even among savages,
for, as Brother J. G. Gibson has remarked, "wherever the religious sentiment
remains— even among the savage nations of the earth— there has been noticed the
desire of the natives to wear a girdle or Apron of some kind."
From all this, however, we must not infer that our Masonic Apron has come to us
from such sources, though, for all we know, the early builder may have been
influenced by those ancient and universal customs. The fact seems to be that the
Operative Masons used the Apron only for the practical puipose of protecting the
clothing, as there was need in labor so rough. It was nothing more than one item of the
workman's necessary equipment as is shown by Brother W. H. Rylands, who found an
Indenture of 1685 in which a Master contracted to supply his Apprentice with
"sufficient wholesome and competent meate, drink, lodging and Aprons."
II Because the Apron was so conspicuous a portion of the Operative Mason's costume,
and so persistent a portion of his equipment, it was inevitable that Speculatives should
have continued its use for symbolical puiposes. The earliest known representatives of
these, we are informed by Brother J. F. Crowe, who was one of the first of our
scholars to make a thorough and scientific investigation of the subject (A.Q.C. vol. V,
p. 29), "is an engraved portrait of Anthony Sayer. . . Only the upper portion is visible
in the picture, but the flap is raised, and the Apron looks like a very long leathern skin.
The next drawing is in the frontispiece to the Book of Constitutions, published in
1723, where a brother is represented as bringing a number of Aprons and gloves into
the Lodge, the former appearing of considerable size and with long strings." In
Hogarth's cartoon, "Night," drawn in 1737, the two Masonic figures, Crowe points out
in another connection (See his "Things a Freemason Should Know") "have Aprons
reaching to their ankles." But other plates of the same period show Aprons reaching
only to the knee, thus marking the beginning of that process of shortening, and of
general decrease in size and change in shape, which finally gave us the Apron of the
present day; for since the garment no longer serves as a means of protection it has
been found wise to fashion it in a manner more convenient to wear, nor is this
inconsistent with its original Masonic significance. It is this fact, as I have already
suggested, that has made the present form of the Apron a result of circumstances, and
proves how groundless are inteipretations founded on its shape.
According to Blue Lodge usages in the United States the Apron must be of unspotted
lambskin, 14 to 16 inches in width, 12 to 14 inches in depth, with a flap descending
from the top some 3 or 4 inches. The Grand Lodge of England now specifies such an
Apron as this for the First Degree, but requires the Apron of the Second Degree to
have two sky-blue rosettes at the bottom, and that of the Third Degree to have in
addition to that a sky-blue lining and edging not more than two inches deep, "and an
additional rosette on the fall or flap, and silver tassels." Grand officers are permitted
to use other ornaments, gold embroidery, and, in some cases, crimson edgings. All the
evidence goes to show that these ornate Aprons are of recent origin. The Apron
should always be worn outside the coat.
2. The Badge of a Mason.
"The thick-tanned hide, girt around him with throngs, wherein the Builder builds, and
at evening sticks his trowel," was so conspicuous a portion of the costume of the
Operative Mason that it became associated with him in the public mind, and thus
gradually evolved into his badge; for a badge is some mark voluntarily assumed as the
result of established custom whereby one's work, or station, or school of opinion, may
Of what is the Mason's badge a mark ? Surely its history permits but one answer to
this— it is the mark of honorable and conscientious labor, the labor that is devoted to
creating, to constructing rather than to destroying or demolishing. As such, the
Mason's Apron is itself a symbol of a profound change in the attitude of society
toward work, for the labor of hand and brain, once despised by the great of the earth,
is rapidly becoming the one badge of an honorable life. If men were once proud to
wear a sword, while leaving the tasks of life to slaves and menials, if they once sought
titles and coats of arms as emblems of distinction, they are now, figuratively speaking,
eager to wear the Apron, for the Knight of the present day would rather save life than
take it, and prefers, a thousand times over, the glory of achievement to the glory of
title or name. Truly, the rank has become the guinea's stamp, and a man's a man for a'
that, especially if he be a man that can do; and the real modem king, as Carlyle was
always contending, is "the man who can."
If this is the message of the Apron, none has a better right to wear it than a Mason, if
he be a real member of the Craft, for he is a knight of labor if ever there was one. Not
all labor deals with things. There is a labor of the mind, and of the spirit, more
arduous, often, and more difficult, than any labor of the hands. He who dedicates
himself to the cleaning of the Augean stables of the world, to the clearing away of the
rubbish that litters the paths of life, to the fashioning of building stones in the
confused quarries of mankind, is entitled, more than any man, to wear the badge of
3. An Emblem of Innocence and Sacrifice.
When the Candidate is invested with the garment he is told that it is an emblem of
innocence. It is doubtful if Operative Lodges ever used it for such a symbolic puipose,
though they may have done so in the Seventeenth Century, after Speculatives began to
be received in greater numbers. The evidence indicates that it was after the Grand
Lodge era, and in consequence of the rule that the Apron should be of white lambskin,
that Masons began to see in its color an emblem of innocence and in its texture a
suggestion of sacrifice.
In so doing they fell into line with ancient practices for of old, white "has been
esteemed an emblem of innocence and purity." Among the Romans an accused person
would sometimes put on a garment of white to attest his innocence, white being, as
Cicero phrased it, "most acceptable to the gods." The candidate in the Mysteries and
among the Essenes were similarly invested, and it has the same meaning of purity and
innocence in the Bible which promises that though our sins be as scarlet they shall be
white as snow. In the early Christian church the young catechumen (or convert) robed
himself in white in token of his abandonment of the world and his determination to
lead a blameless life. But there is no need to multiply instances for each of us feels by
instinct that white is the natural symbol of innocence.
Now it happens that "innocence" comes from a word meaning "to do no hurt" and this
may well be taken as its Masonic definition, for it is evident that no grown man can be
innocent in the sense that a child is, which really means an ignorance of evil. The
innocence of a Mason is his gentleness, his chivalrous determination to do no moral
evil to any person, man, or woman, or babe; his patient forbearance of the crudeness
and ignorance of men, his charitable forgiveness of his brethren when they wilfully or
unconsciously do him evil; his dedication to a spiritual knighthood in behalf of the
values and virtues of humanity by which alone man rises above the brute, and the
world is carried forward on the upward way.
V It is in token of its texture— lambskin— that we find in the Apron the further
significance of sacrifice, and this also, it seems, is a symbolism developed since 1700.
It has been generally believed until recently that the Operatives used only leather
Aprons, and this was doubtless the case in early days, but Crowe has shown that many
of the oldest Lodge records evidence a use of linen as well. "In the old Lodge of
Melrose," he writes, "dating back to the Seventeenth Century, the Aprons have always
been of linen, and the same rule obtained in 'Mary's Chapel' No. 1, Edinburgh, the
oldest Lodge in the world; whilst Brother James Smith, in his history of the old
Dumfries Lodge, writes, 'on inspecting the box of Lodge 53, there was only one
Apron of kid or leather, the rest being of linen!' As these Lodges are of greater
antiquity than any in England, I think a fair case is made out for linen, versus leather,
It can not be said, however, that Brother Crowe has entirely made out his case, for
other authorities contend that the builders who necessarily handled rough stone and
heavy timbers must have needed a more substantial fabric than linen or cotton. But in
any event, the Fraternity has been using leather Aprons for these two centuries,
though cotton cloth is generally substituted for ordinary lodge purposes, and it is in no
sense far-fetched to see in the lambskin a hint of that sacrifice of which the lamb has
so long been an emblem.
But what do we mean by sacrifice? To answer this fully would lead us far afield into
ethics and theology, but for our present purpose, we may say that the Mason's
sacrifice is the cheerful surrender of all that is in him which is un-Masonic. If he has
been too proud to meet others on the level he must yield up his meanness; if he has
been guilty of corrupting habits they must be abandoned, else his wearing of the
Apron be a fraud and a sham.
Carrying with it so rich a freightage of symbolism the Apron may justly be considered
"more ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle, more honorable than the Star
and Garter," for these badges were too often nothing more than devices of flattery and
the insignia of an empty name. The Golden Fleece was an Order of Knighthood
founded by Philip, Duke of Burgundy on the occasion of his marriage to the Infanta
Isabella of Portugal in 1429 or 1430. It used a Golden Ram for its badge and the motto
inscribed on its jewel was "wealth, not servile labor!" The Romans of old bore an
eagle on their banners to symbolize magnanimity, fortitude, swiftness and courage.
The Order of the Star originated in France in 1350, being founded by John II in
imitation of the Order of the Garter; of the last named Order it is difficult to speak, as
its origin is clothed in so much obscurity that historians differ, but it was as essentially
aristocratic as any of the others. In every case, the emblem was a token of aristocratic
idleness and aloofness, the opposite of that symbolized by the Apron; and the
superiority of the latter over the former is too obvious for comment.
SYMBOLISM IN THE APRON
BY BRO. J. GEORGE GIBSON, ENGLAND
THE clothing of the Freemason is not introduced for the purpose of impressing
"profanes", since it is almost entirely absent when the public is present. It is in the
lodge functions alone that its use is compulsory, and the wearing of each article of
Masonic clothing is but a memorial and a present signification of the Faith of a
Mason. It is not only interesting, but it is essential to the effective life that the full
significance of the apron should be realized by every Entered Apprentice, and
remembered by those who from degree to degree go forward and upward to
excellency and attainment.
For the institution of Modern Freemasonry in England we look to the seventeenth
century; but for its origin and causation we may go back beyond Rosicrucianism and
Essenism to the practice of the ancients of every age of worshippers. And, however
far we travel we still find traces of the white lambskin apron as the clothing of
Masonic novices. There must always have been some special significance connected
with its use, and with the colour also, as well as in its use. Indeed, it is upon these
three lines of material, of colour, and of user, that we must seek for light as to the full
sense of its presentment to assembled brethren.
Attached to the idea of user are suggestions both of labour and of religion. From the
earliest age of Noachidae there have been signs that labour and productive energy
were, and would ever remain, honoured by the highest distinction— because of their
operative values. The Jewish, Persian and Egyptian dignitaries wore aprons to indicate
their high rank. The royal standard of Persia, that land of fire worshippers, was
originally an apron. And in the Ancient Mysteries of the Persian Mithras novices were
clothed with white aprons, as also were others. And today certain dignitaries of chul
ches are found wearing the apron, though of a sombre colour. In fact, Masonry
appears through all ages to have been incorporated with the particular religions of
each nation, and was to that body what religion is to theology.
Realizing that the builder is the true King of Man, the clothing of the operative builder
was adopted by the speculative Freemason in the earliest age as the symbol of the
priestly and teaching class. Nothing could so signify ability as could the dress of a
workman, of a powerful operative of a builder of temples. And the consensus of
today's millions approve the ancient dictum of the Sacred Law. Work is that which
tells; and the clothing of a toiler is honourable above all other.
The colour of a Mason's apron should be white. This is the colour of light, the color
that reflects most light, the clean colour which shows stains most plainly. It was the
colour worn by the Israelitish Levite, and by the later Essenes, by the Roman
sacrificing priests, and by the Druid votaries of the highest degrees. The candidate for
the Ancient Mysteries was clad in spotless white, and among Christian churches the
officiating clergyman chiefly wears white while engaged in the sacred office.
White is the emblem of purity: and the Apocalyptic Seer, seeking to describe a Divine
Justice as absolutely pure, tells us of the "great white throne of God", and of the
purified as wearing robes of pure white. Is this not manifestly the reason why the
Masonic novice is clothed with a pure white apron ? Some Christian ministers clothe
the candidates for baptism in white. Freemasonry receives her children to the white
garb of purity. The Entered Apprentice has turned his back upon the "profane" world;
and, when he passes the Tyler he is Masonically clad in purity and open to the
impressions of Masonic life.
But, pure as the white light is, it is a composed colour. It contains all the colours and
is the perfected blend of coloured lights. The Druid perhaps saw this when he made
the last degree the white degree; and perhaps also the Roman priest knew this when in
the supreme duty of his office he wore white in which to sacrifice. Certainly the
Freemason acts wisely when he retains the white apron for the Entered Apprentice,
since whatever that novice may become is already and only assured in the purity of
his soul and desire as he takes the first Masonic steps.
Then the Masonic apron must be of simple lambskin. Not of cloth of gold, nor of rich
silk, nor of a splendid texture of any kind, the lamb is the emblem of innocence, and
of innocence sacrificed. All progress involves sacrifice and blood. If man would rise
he must bleed somehow, or someone must. Primeval man's very raiment was the skin
of slaughtered animals. Advance in civilization involves a victim; and the making of a
Mason means a recognition of the cost of light and labour. In the highest degrees there
are changes in form or in ornament. Perhaps the lambskin may be almost hidden
under the red and blue of the Royal Arch, or by the jewels of rank and office: but the
lambskin is there all the time, and a Masonic apron can be made properly of no other
material. He who wears this is made conscious that as Cain built Enoch out of his loss
and pain, so all Masons are compelled to prepare for the time when hard things are to
be done, sore things to be endured, and fortitude to be cultivated. Masonry is not a
mummery but a life; and the clothing of a Mason is that fit for his labour and
suggestive of his duty.
And, lastly, the use of the lambskin apron symbolizes the great object of Freemasonry,
the building of a Human Temple to the Great Architect of Heaven and earth. True, the
blue ship of the craft colour tells the virtue of Masonic brotherhood and trust, as well
as the love which is over all and in all. But the ordinary white lambskin apron is much
more eloquent could we realize all that it means.
I see a massive pile of Masonry before me in the ages long gone past. There are turban
and bare heads, men of ranks and of all nations, fiery drabs and dark browed
Gibeonites, active Tyrians and heavy limbed fellaheen from the banks of the river of
Egypt. Some are but unskilled labourers; but many thousands wear the Mason's
lambskin apron, and carry the tools of their calling. They are come from all lands to
build a House for Jehovah, Solomon's God: and from the call to labour to the call off
to refreshment they are hard at work. One is reducing the mighty blocks to shape,
another is carefully squaring and smoothing the surface and making the even bed,
another is carving thefacade stones in chaste designs and obeying each command
conveyed in the plans of the designers.
The scene changes. A weeping crowd of returned exiles cast off their garments and
clear the level of the ancient ruins. These men also wear the apron of white ambskin,
They have sacrificed and suffered, and suffer now. The same process and order and
persistence. Again in scattered bands men gather upon the site of some Monastely,
some fortress, some Cathedral, some Palace of Justice. There is the same white
lambskin apron. There is the same obedience to the Master and there is the same
loyalty to the Volume of the Sacred Law. The lambskin apron is the symbol of labour,
of sacrifice, of construction, of obedience to design, of service to one's brothers, and
of educative process ever going on.
We do not today stand alongside the rude mason's bench and with gavel and chisel
dress huge blocks of hardest stone. But we stand before a delicately adjusted
masterpiece which we must finish, or fail in our lives. The world is our workshop; the
tools of a mason are in our hands, and the apron is both speculative and operative in
suggestion. We are called to cultivate character, to deepen human sympathy, to draw
closer the chords of brotherly love, and to prepare ourselves by discipline for each
post as the great Grand Master shall appoint us. We have before us imperfect Human
Society which must be saved by progress, and established by the inspiration of a
Humanity which includes, but is greater than patriotism. The reminder of the Mason's
apron ought to inspire us to a nobler consecration and a more human interest and
service. We must wear it, in lodge, until we are called of labour, and the hour of our
Eternal Rest is come, and the voice of the Great Warden calls us home.
THE HIDDEN TRUTHS OF MASONRY
The work is so full of cunningly hidden suggestions of immortal truths that one is
almost inclined at times to claim for it inspiration. It is becoming generally
acknowledged among believers in a Deity that all life is a manifestation— or perhaps it
had better be called an outpouring— of the presence and spirit of God. That all life
owes its origin to Him, and at extinction, returns— as the waters return from the sea—
to its original source. Moses, or the original author of the account of the creation, did
not deal in metaphor when he said "the Lord God formed man of the dust of the
ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul."
What is more expressive of life than "breath"; or of death than its absence ?
Thus Masonry declares: "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit
shall return unto God who gave it." It draws a striking illustration from the acacia
which reminds us of that immortal principle which survives the grave and bears the
nearest affinity to that Supreme Intelligence which permeates all animate nature and
which can never die.
If our ears are only attuned to these melodies they sound at every stroke of the gavel
and every opening and closing of the lodge. "Familiarity doth breed contempt." We
should rather cultivate an ear to hear like those employed in vast machine shops, who
can recognize the fall of a pin, because the ear recognizes the pitch of the diminishing
—Rob Morris Bulletin.
BY BRO. DR. G. ALFRED LAWRENCE, NEW YORK
In the British Colonial Possessions in America Military Lodges took an important part
in the diffusion and propagation of Masonry.
Captain Alexander (Fourth Lord Colville) of the British Navy, initiated by Lord
Cornwallis in 1749 at Halifax, was elected in the following year Master of the "2nd
Lodge at Boston” and which he represented at every meeting of the Provincial Grand
Lodge until his appointment as Deputy Grand Master of North America in 1752. He
was present at the capture of Louisburg in 1758, served in the expedition against
Quebec in 1759 and in command of the fleet at the recapture of Newfoundland in
1762, after which he was promoted to Rear-Admiral of the White.
At Louisburg the 1st, 15th, 17th, 22nd, 28th, 35th, 40th, 45th, 7th, 48th and 58th Foot,
two battalions of 60th (Royal Amerans) and Fraser's Highlanders (78th) were engaged
and six of these were known to have had lodges attached to them— the 1 st, 1 5th, 1 7th,
35th, 47th and 48th. This does not mean that the other Regiments did not also have
lodges in 1758 as it was not uncommon for lodges to exist in Regiments without being
included in the "official lists." It is known that by the commencement of the
Revolutionary War all thirteen of the above Regiments had lodges attached to them—
the 28th having received an Irish warrant in 1734, but lapsed in 1758 as a new lodge
under a Provisional Charter was formed in the Regiment by Col. Richard Gridley in
this year (1758); the 40th received a "constitution" in 1759; the 78th in 1760; the 60th
in 1764; the 45th in 1766; and both the 22nd and 58th in 1769.
There were at least six registered lodges accompanying the British land forces in the
expedition against Quebec (and probably others not on the official lists) as it was a
common practice to "congregate all Free and Accepted Masons" on such occasions
and "forming them into one or more lodges" in the Masonic jurisdiction of North
Military Lodges were thus known to have been established at Lake George and Crown
Point in addition to Louisburg and in 1759 after the capitulation of Quebec the eight
or nine "warranted" lodges of the Regiments assembled and elected an acting Grand
Master. The following year (1760) on St. John's Day, June 24th, Col. Sir Simon Fraser
of the 78th Foot was elected to preside over the Canadian lodges. It is interesting to
note that Thomas Dunckerley, gunner of the Vanguard, through whom a lodge was
established on board the Vanguard, on his official warrant from the Grand Lodge of
England to inspect into the state of the Craft wherever he might be "honoured them
with his approbation of their conduct and installed Bro. Fraser in his high office."
Such roving commissions to seafaring brethren to exercise the functions of a
Provincial Grand Master, when no other Provincial covers the territory, had also been
given before and after this period. Brother Dunckerly was present at both the
reduction of Louisburg and the capitulation of Quebec and later on, returning to
Quebec with other vessels prevented the retaking of this latter city. He had the
Masonic distinction of establishing the first "Sea Lodge" as above mentioned on the
Vanguard and when he was later transferred to the Prince he established a second
"Sea Lodge" (on board this latter vessel) on May 22nd, 1762. This lodge was
designated "No. 279," and upon Dunckerly's later transfer to the Gaudeloupe he
evidently transferred No. 279 to the same as it is recorded that the latter was "held on
board the Guadeloupe." Later these sea lodges were established by Dunckerly on
land— that of the Vanguard becoming the "London No. 108" and that on the Prince
and later the Guadelope becoming the "Royal Somerset House and Inverness No. 4."
A third Sea lodge was established in 1768 "On Board His Majesty's Ship Canceaux at
Quebec" and struck off the roll in 1792 for not having paid for its constitution or
returned any list of members. No other Sea lodges were constituted by the Grand
Lodge of England but a petition was received for "Naval Kilwinning" to be held on
board H.M. Ship Ardent from Lieutenant Crawford and other naval officers in 1810.
The Grand Lodge of Scotland, however, after consulting with sister jurisdictions
"notwithstanding the respectable station of the applicants felt itself constrained to
Referring back to the situation at Quebec, the first Military Lodge coming into
existence there was "St. Andrews," established October 20th, 1760, in the 78th
Highlanders by the above mentioned Sir Simon Fraser, Colonel of the Regiment and
Provisional Grand Master. Other lodges were soon organized in addition to the
various sojourning lodges already in existence among the troops from the British
Isles— the "Ancients" becoming stronger as time passed but the "Modems" held their
own among the Colonies that later became the United States. This stmggle for
successful supremacy of the "Ancients" was largely due to Army Lodges established
under their jurisdiction, especially at Boston in 1768 and New York in 1781-2 (the
British having occupied the latter city in 1776 and introduced "Ancient" Masonry into
Col. Richard Gridley, who distinguished himself at both the siege of Louisburg and
Quebec, later planned the work for the British and was wounded at the Battle of
Bunker Hill and here also the celebrated Lord Rawdon (afterwards Second Earl of
Moira) fought against the American forces and in which engagement Major General
Joseph Warren was killed. All three of these soldiers were prominent and brilliant
Masons. For a long time it was believed that Gen. George Washington was made a
Mason in the "Lodge of Social and Military Virtues" in the 46th Foot (holding warrant
No. 277 from the Grand Lodge of Ireland granted in 1752) as the Bible is preserved in
the officer's mess with this inscription "On this Sacred Volume Washington received a
degree of Masonry." It was twice taken by the enemy and both times returned to the
regiment" "with all the honors of war." The first instance was when their Masonic
chest fell into the hands of the Americans and Washington ordered a guard of honor to
return the same with other articles of value belonging to the 46th Foot. Later at
Dominica this same 46th Foot was attacked by a French force and again lost its
Masonic chest and the latter was taken on board their fleet without knowledge of its
contents. Three years later the French government at the earnest request of the officers
who had commanded the expedition returned the chest with several complimentary
presents. In 1816 this same lodge was at work in the same Regiment at Sydney,
Australia, and in 1817 on the coast of Coromandel, India, and at the latter place
obtained a local charter, No. 7. After 1822 when marching from Cannanore to
Hyderabad various members died and others invalided and the lodge chest forgotten.
It was accidentally rediscovered in 1 829 by Capt. Lacey, a Mason, who brought the
chest back to England in 1833. Its Irish warrant was renewed in 1834 at which time
there was but one member who had originally been connected with the lodge. In 1 847
its Regimental or Travelling warrant was returned to the Grand Lodge of Ireland. Two
days later a new warrant of a Military, though stationary character, with the same
number was issued making it a permanent Garrison lodge situated at Montreal. In
1855 this No. 227 joined the Grand Lodge of Canada receiving a civil warrant and
two years later the name was changed to "Lodge of Antiquity," "to take precedence of
all numbered lodges." In 1869 a Grand Lodge was established for the Province of
Quebec and "Antiquity" was the first lodge placed on its roll and the two next on the
list were "Albion" and "St. John's" formerly in the Royal Artillery. This "Lodge of
Antiquity" is now No. 1, Quebec, and observes with great ceremony its "Military
Night" at which large numbers of officers and volunteers appear in uniform.
Another instance of Military Masonic courtesy was that in which the Constitution of
"Unity Lodge No. 18" in the 17th British Regiment fell into the hands of the
Americans and on July 23rd, 1779, it was returned accompanied by a very courteous
and fraternal note from Gen. Samuel H. Parsons. This lodge was originally chartered
by the Grand Lodge of Scotland as No. 168 in 1771, landed at Boston the same year
and removed to Philadelphia in 1777. While here (although still on the Scottish roll
and remaining on same until 1 816) it accepted a warrant from the Provincial Grand
Lodge of Pennsylvania under the "Ancients" with local number "18." This same Gen,
Parsons founded and was treasurer of "American Union" a Military Lodge in the
American forces during the Revolutionary War and warranted by Col. (afterwards
General) Richard Gridley, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Massachusetts under
the "Modems." In April 1776 the members of Unity Lodge No. 18 were on duty with
their Regiment in New York State and an application for confirmation of their warrant
was denied. A new one, however, was granted with title "Military Union No. 1." This
long-continued rivalry between "Ancients" and "Modems" practically disappeared as
a result of the influence of Military Lodges during the Revolutionary War. Many of
these Regimental lodges became stationary lodges in both the United States and
Canada. An instance of this is a still existing lodge, "Zion No. 1," originally
constituted in the 60th Foot in 1764 when this Regiment was stationed at Detroit,
Mich., by the "Modems." In 1794 at the instance of another Army lodge (Now
"Albion, No. 2") at Quebec it went over to the "Ancients" becoming "Zion Lodge No.
10" on the Provincial roll of Lower Canada. In 1806 the Quebec warrant was
surrendered and a new one, No. 62, obtained from the Grand Lodge of New York. In
1819 it became No. 3 and in 1826 united in the formation of the Grand Lodge of
Michigan under which Grand Body this old "Traveling Lodge" now holds first place
under the original title "Zion No. 1."
In the prolonged stmggle between Great Britain and France from 1793 to 1815 there
was much activity in the various Military Lodges in the many Regiments engaged on
both sides. Not infrequently Regiments lost their warrants or paraphernalia and in
some instances duplicate warrants were issued as in the case of Irish warrant No. 441
in the 38th Foot in August 1795 owing to the original having been taken by the
French. Both the warrant (granted in September 1795 by the Grand Lodge of Ireland)
and Masonic chest of No. 570 of the 5th Dragoons were also captured by the French
and a duplicate warrant was also granted in this instance. In Febmary 1798 the
Ancients established a Military Lodge in the 1 1th Foot at Norwich and when the
members of this entire Regiment became prisoners of war in Flanders in May 1798
(and not exchanged until 1799) they probably met Masonically during this period as
the custom of meeting as Masons has always prevailed to a very large extent among
prisoners of war, and this lodge was still in existence in 1807. "No. 441" in the 38th
Foot frequently conferred the Higher Degrees (as was the Irish practice) under the
warrant of the first three degrees. This lodge upon resuming working of the Royal
Arch Degree in 1 822 and upon inquiry received the following reply: "There are not
any warrants issued by the Grand Lodge of Ireland other than that you hold; it has
therefore always been the practice of Irish Lodges to confer the Higher Degrees under
A Regimental lodge (No. 183) established by the "Ancients" in Febmary 1803 in the
9th Foot lost their archives when the transport Ariadne on which the First Battalion
had embarked went down off the coast of France near Calais and the staff officers and
two hundred and sixty-two soldiers were made prisoners of war and resumed their
Masonic labours at Valenciennes. The proceedings of this "Captive Lodge" extended
from January 30th, 1806 to January 25th, 1814. On January 25th, 1814, the brethren
dispersed and the "Ark" was taken from Riom in the province of Auvergne and
returned to England in charge of one of the brethren and the lodge ceased to exist
The 96th Foot received warrant No. 170 from the "Ancients" in 1804 and the
following memorandum by the Grand Secretary appears: "6th January 1809; Warr.
No. 170, Box and Furniture lost at St. Croix. Members all lost or dead or disposed of
but Bro. Geo. Baxter, Quartermaster." During this period the 42nd Foot not only had
an Irish Lodge ("Hibernia, No. 42") actively at work but also a Scottish Lodge (St.
Andrew, No. 310). It may be mentioned here that during the Peninsular War
(18081814) Irish Lodge "No. 557" in the 6th Dragoon Guards lost its chest containing
the lodge furniture, warrant and jewels, during an engagement and a French officer
directed its return to the English Regiment under a flag of truce and a guard of honor.
After the Battle of Waterloo the British Army was reduced to a peace footing and
many Military Lodges passed out of existence or became stationary— among the latter
"Virginia Lodge" at Halifax, now No. 3 on the roll of Nova Scotia; "Union Waterloo"
at Kent; "St. Johns" at Gibraltar; "Humility with Fortitude" and "Courage with
Humanity" at Calcutta and "Orion in the West" at Poona (the latter three formerly in
the Royal Bengal and Bombay Artillery); and "Amphioxus Lodge" originally in the
Royal Marines and becoming stationary at the inland town of Heckmondwike,
Yorkshire. "Royal York Lodge of Perseverance" was first established as a stationary
lodge at London in 1776, became a Military Lodge in 1793 in the Coldstream Guards,
and in 1821 again resumed its stationary character.
"Mount Olive Lodge" in the 67th Foot was transferred to the Royal Regiment of
Cornish Miners in 1 807 and afterwards exchanged its military warrant for a civil
warrant and is now the "Lodge of Fortitude" at Truro, and "Euphrates" at London,
"Unanimity" at Preston, and "One and All" at Bodmin, were originally held in the
West London, Third Lancashire and First Cornwall Militia respectively. "St.
Cuthberts" in the Durham Militia, with a Scottish warrant, continued its Military
character until the Regiment was disembodied in 1 813. It then continued under the
same warrant as a stationary lodge, meeting at Bernard Castle. In 1825 it applied for
and received an English warrant. In 1836 it applied for its original Scottish warrant
but was refused. "Shakespeare Lodge," Warwick was originally a stationary lodge at
Norwich. In 1796 its members sold their furniture to some brethren in the
Warwickshire Militia and made them a present of their Constitution and the latter
designated it "Shakespeare Lodge." On the removal of this Regiment in 1795, the
lodge accompanied it and five years later was brought to Warwick. The next year the
battalion was again ordered into service but the lodge remained at Warwick. The
Regiment returned in 1805 but three years later was ordered to be quartered at
Sunderland. The lodge, however, passed a resolution that it should be made stationary
at Warwick. A protest was made by the members at Sunderland but the Grand Lodge
decided in favor of the majority at Warwick, so that Shakespeare Lodge was removed
from the Warwickshire Militia to the guardianship of non-military brethren at
A custom sprang up among Scottish lodges of issuing commissions, or as afterwards
termed, dispensations, "which led to great evil of brethren traversing country and
obtaining membership for their own lodges to the detriment of those locally situated."
This practice of forming branch lodges by "dispensation" became very popular in
Ayrshire, and one such branch remained in active operation for eight years in the
County Militia, the Mother lodge being "Renfrew St. Paul." It was usual on the part of
the lodge granting such dispensations to exact one-half the amount received as
entrance fees but this was subject to modifications as instanced by the above
mentioned Mother lodge "from a wish to indulge her brethren in the Ayrshire Militia"
asked "no more than 3 s. for each entrant, 2s. 9d. of which was to be retained to defray
any necessary expenses." This practice was also carried out by an Irish lodge whose
dispensation was granted by Mother Kilwinning.
In 1813 fifty Regimental lodges were carried over by the Union of the two English
Grand Lodges— forty- four working under "Ancient" warrants to six under "Modem"
warrants and the proportion of Military to civil lodges was about one in twelve in
1878 this became one in three hundred and by 1 899 the proportion was one in eleven
The early Military Lodges largely originated in the rank and file and later extended to
the officers and towards the end of the eighteenth century it became increasingly
customary to have lodges in Regiments exclusively confined to officers. The first
"Officer's Lodge" (of which there is any known record) was established by the Grand
Lodge of Ireland in the 32nd Foot with warrant No. 617 issued in 1783 and
subsequently "erased for neglect" between 1785 and 1792. Before, during and after
this period there was a Scottish Lodge No. 73 "presumably the resort of non-
commissioned officers and privates," in this same battalion. Charter No. 274 for
"Orange Lodge" was granted to officers of the 51st Regiment in 1801 by the Grand
Lodge of Scotland— there being at the same time two other lodges in the corps, both of
the same name, and one under Irish and the other under "Ancient" warrant and both of
the latter bearing, singular to relate, the number 94. From the year 1815 the practice of
admitting private soldiers, except as serving brethren, was absolutely forbidden by the
Grand Lodge of England and while there was no actual law on the subject by the
Grand Lodge of Ireland there is every reason to believe that from about the same date
the regulations of all Military lodges— regimental or garrison— have contained a clause
to a similar effect. Subsequent to the Union of 1813 this practice of commissioned
officers meeting as brethren without the companionship of the lower ranks obtained a
great vogue and there were "Officer's Lodges" in Bengal, Madras and Bombay. In
1 8 1 5 the Grand Lodge of England promulgated a law forbidding the admission of
civilians into Military Lodges and which was probably observed by the Regiments on
home service but by those abroad, especially in the East, it was for many years totally
disregarded. The "Lodge of Hope" at Poona was formed by civilian members of
"Orion in the West" in the Bombay Artillery in 1825 and in the same year "Humanity
with Courage" (an offshoot of "Courage and Humanity," Bengal Artillery) was so
flourishing at Penang in the Malay Peninsula that every civilian of respectability was
ranged beneath its banner. Also "Union Lodge" in the 14th Foot, then stationed at
Meerut, returned as a member A. J. Colvin, Judge and Magistrate, in 1826.
The Irish practice only curtailed the freedom of their Military lodges when prejudicial
to the interest of their stationary lodges and enabled the former on several occasions to
be the means of establishing local (or civil) lodges on continents or islands where
Regiments to which they were attached happened to be sent on duty. The 1 st Royals
(as previously stated) constituted a new stationary lodge at Albany, New York, in
1759 and many were formed by the 39th Foot in Hindostan at a still earlier period. In
1857 the 4th or King's Own while serving at Mauritius initiated twenty-eight
gentlemen of Port Louis into their Regimental lodge and in 1858, prior to leaving the
island, the brethren of the Military lodge installed the officers of the civil lodge
(consisting of nineteen members of the parent body who remained in the Mauritius).
In the same way the "Lodge of Yokohama," the earliest in Japan, was an offshoot of
the "Sphinx Lodge" in the 2nd battalion of the 20th Foot which initiated sufficient
numbers of civilian members to enable the work of Masonry to be carried on at the
departure of the Regiment from that country in 1866.
Military Lodges were also formed in Volunteer Regiments and two of the most
famous were the "Edinburgh Defensive Band" erected in 1782 and the "First
Volunteer Lodge of Ireland" in 1783. The former was raised towards the close of the
American War of Independence and about fifty of its members, in anticipation of its
being disbanded, formed a lodge of the same name under the Mastership of its
Colonel. Lodges existing at the present time in the Volunteer forces both in the British
Isles and its colonies, are very numerous— among them the "Fitzroy" in the Honorable
Artillery Company of London.
The list of lodges in garrison towns or fortified places which are or were of a Military,
though stationary, character are many and among the prominent lodges in this class
may be mentioned "Friendship" and "Inhabitants" lodges at Gibraltar; "St. John and
St. Paul" at Malta; "Pythagoras" at Corfu and others in the West Indies, Australasia,
North and South Africa, the Far East and the Dominion of Canada.
It is interesting to note the outgrowth from this Military lodge system of a large
number of "Class Lodges"— University, Authors, Lawyers, Physicians and members of
many other professions and callings. Among such class lodges in London of a
Military or Naval character are the "Navy," "Household Brigade," (of both which the
Prince of Wales, Admiral of the Fleet and Field Marshal was first Master); "Nil Sine
Lahore" (Army Service Coips); "Army and Navy" (chiefly non-commissioned
officers in Household Cavalry and Brigade of Guards); and "Ubique" (Royal
Artillery). The "Aldershot Army and Navy" and "Camp" Lodges are examples of
similar associations in the province (and county) of Hampshire.
The custom of prisoners of war, who were Masons, congregating in lodges in all the
countries of Europe during the many wars of the past two hundred years resulted in
many interesting events. In some instances they were permitted to visit regular lodges
and even admitted to membership. It is related that many of the French officers
interned at Brandon in 1746-47 were admitted members of the "Ancient Boyne
Lodge" in that Irish town and other French captives were recipients of fraternal
kindness at Leeds in 1761, Kelso in 1810 and at Selkirk— where twenty-three of their
number were enrolled as honorary members of the "Lodge of St. John" in 1812.
Prisoners of war at Basingstoke in 1756 "finding themselves a competent number"
formed a lodge making due submission to the (older) Grand Lodge of England and a
warrant placed at their disposal but owing to pecuniary reasons they were obliged to
decline. In 1758 part of these captives were removed to Petersfield and formed a
second lodge and again made "due submission" to the Grand Lodge. The latter took
no notice of same and these French brethren, taking silence for approval "continued
working and making Masons until middle of 1759." A further change of quarters of
some of these prisoners resulted in the formation of a third lodge at Leeds, which still
existed in 1761. In 1762 "a constitution or warrant" was granted by the Grand Lodge
of York to similar captives "on their parole," to hold a lodge at the "Punch Bowl" in
that city, "prohibiting them nevertheless from making anyone a brother who shall be a
subject of Great Britain or Ireland." In Scotland French prisoners of war also held
lodges of their own— one of which, "St. John of Benevolence," was constituted by
leave and warrant of the Fodge of Melrose. Another lodge must have met, if not by
direct at least by tacit permission of "St. Johns" Selkirk, as the minutes of the latter
state that "the prisoners held a lodge from time to time, the proceedings of which were
conducted by themselves in their own language." A similar lodge under the Grand
Orient of Marseilles was established at Malta after its occupation by the British. This
afterwards shifted its allegiance and became "Fes Amis en Captivite" on the English
roll but its life was a short one and it disappeared without ever having made any return
to the Grand Fodge. Considerable sums were voted on various occasions by both the
Grand Fodge of England and that of Scotland for the relief of French prisoners of war
confined in Great Britain. During the Crimean War the "Fodge of Integrity" which
accompanied the 14th Foot to the Crimea, continued to work during the war in the
depth of winter and many distinguished officers were initiated in this lodge amidst the
booming of guns— amongst them being Ford Eustace Browniow Cecil who was
initiated in the camp before Sebastopol, May 24th, 1855.
(To be continued)
— o —
The following letter was mailed to every Grand Master in the United States after a
meeting of the Grand Master of Iowa's Advisory Council, held at Anamosa on the
evening of October 2nd, at which the contents of the letter were approved and the
following sums appropriated from the War Fund of the Grand Lodge of Iowa and
immediately cabled to the respective organizations.
Grand Lodge of France, for the relief of Mason prisoners of War in Germany
International Bureau of Masonic Affairs, Switzerland, to assist in its work of locating
missing soldiers $1,000.00
Masonic Club, Saint Nazaire, France $500.00
Heather Still Masonic Club, A. E. F., France $500.00
HAS MASONRY A DUTY IN THE WAR?
ONE GRAND MASTER'S OPINION
GRAND LODGE OF IOWA, A. F. & A. M.
GEO. L. SCHOONOVER
GRAND MASTER OF MASONS IN IOWA
ANAMOSA. IOWA, OCT. 3, 1918
To All Grand Masters in the United States.
My Dear Brother Grand Master:
There are times when a problem weighs so heavily upon a man's conscience that he
cannot sleep nights. This is not a good thing for the health. The only antidote offered by
science for a case like that is that he unburden himself, fully, freely and frankly to some
friend in whom he can trust. Such an hour of confession is akin to prayer. I cannot
personally understand why, when a problem of this kind is discussed between two
earnest, thoughtful men, it is not a prayer. For surely God is present upon such an
occasion; and if He be the loving Father we picture Him in Masonry, He will give an
ear to such a problem, presented in a reverent way.
It seems to me that there is a problem which you and I ought to be considering in just
such a way as I have outlined. I cannot believe that we have considered it as carefully as
it merits. Had we done so, I feel that we would long since have gotten together in this
reverent way which I have tried to describe, to survey it from every possible angle.
In approaching it, I do so with a feeling of trepidation. Like many another problem
which it becomes ours to deal with, to have a difference of opinion is by no means to
imply bad faith to either party. Scattered as we Grand Masters are, in forty-nine
different parts of the United States, surrounded by an infinite variety of conditions, and
our minds occupied by the details of everyday duties in our respective offices, it is not
at all strange that we may have not seen all sides of it. In looking at a diamond we see
but a few of its facets; and it is not to be wondered at that we have a large divergence of
opinion as to its brilliancy.
In order to present my own ideas upon this problem, I wish to come to you as if we
were closeted together, alone, under conditions of friendship and mutual esteem which
would permit of the fullest and frankest expression. If in doing so I turn the searchlight
of study into the very innermost depths of my own soul, please do not accuse me of
egotism. I make no disclaimers other than that. My friends who know me, over the
United States, will have to acquit me of that feeling or of that attitude. It is not that
which impels me, but a deep-seated conviction, which has grown with the months since
we as a nation have entered into this terrible war, that I am not doing my duty as a
Mason. The action of the Grand Lodge of Iowa in elevating me to the highest position
within its gift does not rob me of my right to think. What it has done is to impress upon
me a thousand- fold the fact that the measure of the honor which that position brings to
me is the measure of service to our Craft which I bring to it, and no more. And this
deep-seated conviction that I am falling short of my bounden duty to give to Masonry
the best that is in me, challenges that conception of the position which I hold in Iowa. I
must speak. To speak elsewhere than to my confreres who hold, or have held, the same
position in this and other Grand Lodges, is to dodge the issue. That I will not do.
Listen then, to an unhappy soul unburdening itself.
For almost a year and a half our Free Nation has been at war with the ancient enemy of
all Freedom - Despotism. Despotism in its most damnable form - so damnable that
thoughtful men everywhere wonder. To some it seems like ordinary lunacy; to others,
devilishness gone mad. Had the Nazarene succumbed to Satan upon the mountain-top,
when he offered Him the kingdoms of the earth, He might have become like the Kaiser
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, are mighty words - so mighty that they spell the ultimate
doom of Despotism. Now they are at work. Of the ultimate result we need no longer
fear. America has arrived, and it is not "Too Late." France, our Sister Republic,
England, our Mother, and all the nations of the earth know it. Even despotic Germany
knows it in part. It is only a question of time and blood. Time and blood, the great
historical antiseptics which eventually overcome every scourge which besets mankind.
It has been so, and it will be so again.
Liberty, Equality and Fraternity are dynamic words. And nowhere more dynamic than
in the great Masonic institution. Let me capitalize that word "Institution." As I conceive
it, it knows no territorial boundaries. It is a Spirit Thing, binding heart to heart, working
its sweet ministry upon men of every color and race according to their capacity to
receive the Truth.
What is The Great Truth? Leaving those to define it who love to dogmatize, may I not
ask is it anywhere revealed in greater purity or in an atmosphere of greater affection
than in the Constitution of the United States? Again, leaving to the historians to tell
exact data in what manner suits them best, is not this great truth the very essence of
Masonry? It was put thel e by Masons, and they did not fail in their duty.
Masonry, then, pure and undefiled, is emblazoned in the American Constitution,
because its principles underly that document which every true American reveres.
By so much as this is true, this war is Masonry's war! And every Masonic principle is at
stake in this war.
* * *
We sit now in the chamber of reflection.
I come to you sick at heart. I, a Mason - aye, I a Grand Master of Masons, am sick at
heart because I cannot make Iowa Masonry take its proper plate in a World Temple
whose very pillars are falling all about me.
True, we have asked our lodges to register and keep sweet the memory of their brethren
who wear the khaki of our country. True, we have raised a War Emergency Fund, as a
free will offering, and stand ready to raise more when it is needed. True, we are
accepting the petitions of those who would be Masons before they go "over there," and
using every legitimate means within our power, waiving technicalities, in order that
their ambitions to be numbered among the Great White Souled Brotherhood may be
gratified. They are worthy to be so numbered. True, the Grand Lodge of Iowa has
extended its fraternal hand to the Grand Lodge and the Grand Orient of France,
applying only the standards of Fraternal Service to them and thereby finding them truly
Masonic - and may God grant that Iowa Masonry may forever remain big enough to
apply only that standard. True, we have respected the hailing sign of distress from
across the waters, voiced by the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of France in the
memorable and modest words which follow, by expressing our good will and aiding the
cause. True, our lodges have bought Liberty Bonds. True, they have contributed to
every humanitarian cause which is classed by our government as a legitimate one. True,
our membership throughout the state has stood behind the government in its every
activity, leading where the free will of a great people have chosen them to be leaders,
following when it seemed that someone else could best do the work.
We have given our money as lodges.
We have given ourselves, as citizens. But we have not given ourselves as Masons!
* * *
If the action of the Grand Lodge of Iowa had not been favorable to the recognition of
French Masonry at its Annual Communication of last June, I could not recite the
following touching reply from Brother Gal. Peigne, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge
of France, acknowledging our cabled recognition:
"I beg leave to acknowledge receipt of your letter confirming your cablegram of the
13th June, which we received with the greatest joy. It is for us, indeed, a veritable
pleasure to have your Grand Lodge renew fraternal relations with ours. Like you, we
are convinced that our co-operation will be beneficial.
"Replying to your wish, which conforms to ours, of exchanging between our two
Societies guarantees of friendship, our Federal Council has honored me by appointing
me representative to your Grand Lodge and of submitting this choice for your
ratification. I will aceept and fulfill this command with pleasure.
"You wish to thank me for the courtesy with which we have received the American
Masons who have come to France in the aid of Right and Justice. We have received
them as brothers and we entertain the most cordial relations with them. We are always
happy to see them among our number. It is with the greatest pleasure that we have
fulfilled and will continue to fulfill this fraternal and pleasant duty, and we are glad that
they have so generously appreciated our sentiments in their regard; an appreciation
which you repeat.
"I am greatly touched also by the offer which you make of co-operation in our war
work. I would believe myself lacking in a sacred duty should I not reply with the
frankness which you asked for.
"Most of our lodges in the Provinces have established and are carrying on very
interesting work; Military hospitals, help to the families of the heroes who have
disappeared in the torment which has ravaged our country for four years. Personally our
Grand Lodge established on its property, a Military hospital, which has been suppressed
since 1915; its existence, in a city like Paris, being of little importance on account of the
few beds we were able to install. We also established free meals for the benefit not only
of Masons, but of others who were so tried by the war. Work having been rapidly
resumed and the want having abated; we gave up this work which no longer responded
to a necessity.
"There are two things which we began at the commencement of the war, and which we
still follow and hope to pursue to the end of the war if possible; the work of caling for
families of those killed, and above all, the work of sending food to the prisoners of war.
"We commenced this last work in 1915. At first we sent two packages a month to our
Masons who were prisoners, by means of the Beme Committee (attached to the Red
Cross) of aid to the prisoners of war, of which the Secretary General is a Mason, very
devoted, and the President an Alsatian, a big-hearted woman, become Swiss through
her marriage, but remaining French in soul, and who gave her son for the defence of
France and today mourns his glorious death.
"Unfortunately, the war still continues, the misery increases with the mourning, and
although we bear stoically all the misfortunes which overwhelm us; although we shall
stand firm for a just victory, we cannot, now, help the unfortunate in the same
proportion, and we have had to reduce our ration for the prisoners to one package a
month, a cruel decision for us, because the Germans let them die of hunger. And now
the time is coming when we shall not be able to give them this slight help. We cannot
appeal to our lodges in the Provinces, for they have difficulty in carrying on the work
they have undertaken. Our lodges in Paris and foreign lands helped us as they could. In
the beginning of the war we sent an appeal to the various Grand Lodges and to the
Orients abroad. Alone, the Grand Orient of Brazil responded - they sent us some 13,000
francs. We are poor today because three-fourths of our Masons are in the army. Many
of them have fallen. There remain the living, victims of war, and in the first place,
prisoners and children. There remains also the misery which we shall have to help in
the invaded regions, when their hour of freedom shall come. In spite of all, we desire
earnestly to keep on with these works. We shall be very happy to have the American
Masons who will be made prisoners have a share in this. We have a great affection for
them. We have found in the Americans spirits kindred to our own. Such, very frankly,
as you demanded, is our situation as we enter the fifth year of the war.
"Permit me, in closing, to tell you of the admiration we have, which our soldiers who
fight beside them have for the courage, the devotion, and the self-sacrifice of the
A Mason wrote that letter. Gentle, kind, bighearted, modest, smothering his own
sorrow, praising the samples of American bravery of which 1 am proud, but forgetting
to mention the volumes of heroism and sacrifice shown by his countrymen, yes, he is a
Mason. He is my brother in heart as well as in arms.
French Masons have given themselves, as Masons!
* * *
Let it not be said that American Masons are not thinking about what we ought to be
doing, as Masons. In December last, following the conference of Fraternal Societies
held at the request of Secretary McAdoo, the Grand Masters of some twenty- five or
thirty jurisdictions met informally at the invitation of Grand Master Witten of the
District of Columbia, and the matter was touched upon. Of that conference little more
need be said. It was not to its credit that it permitted the specter of a General Grand
Lodge to drive out of the conference room the vision of that mighty army in khaki, no
small part of which needs the grasp of a hrother's hand on the other side of the water.
Through the kindness of my predecessor in office I was privileged to attend that little
meeting, and the memory of a brother who could not vote upon a resolution to have a
group of Masons named as a committee to study the problem, because his Grand Lodge
had not acted upon the question, remains a nightmare to haunt me.
The conference in New York, though lightly attended, promised more. M. W. Brother
Thomas Penny had a vision of the problem. He propounded certain questions which no
thinking Mason could conscientiously ignore. They went to the core of the matter.
Without bias or prejudice, they frankly asked the question whether Masonry might not
find something worth while to do in the maelstrom "over there."
With all due respect to the Resolutions Committee, I want to protest the "seemingly,"
the "so far as possible," the "be invited to contribute," and the "recommend" phrases in
the resolutions which resulted. If the, visiting brethren believed that which in their
resolutions they said they believed; if they believed what the New York brethren
evidently did believe, then their resolutions should have rung throughout Masonic
America as the Liberty Bell rang for Freedom. No countryside, no "Grand Jurisdiction,"
should have been too far distant to have heard its clarion call!
If the reports of the conference in the Masonic Press are to be believed, this effort "to
unite the Masons of America into one common mass" for the puipose of effecting a
working organization to help our brethren overseas was abortive, because no one dared
to use the Trowel! As hosts to the Conference, our New York brethren could not wield
it. All honor to them, therefore, that they are following the vision as they see it, raising a
substantial fund to carry it through, while the rest of us are appointing War Boards
(some of us are) in order to be able to work with them when they finally launch their
Right here is a good place to quote from a letter in my possession from a brother who
knows what the New York program is, and is helping it from the inside. He says:
"We are not 'over there' yet, and there is nothing definite when we will be. We are
being held up (and 1 use the term advisedly). You cast draw your own inference."
My brother, we are still in the chamber of reflection, and 1 want you to ask a question:
Do you like the stinger in the above quotation? Do you suppose that if the Masons of
America (I'm talking about the Craft, now, and not Grand Officers) knew that such a
condition existed, they would sit supinely by and twirl their thumbs? I do not think they
would! Yet I feel that I am doing that very thing, up to this date!
Our government, by the very nature of the crisis which it faces, is forced to restrict
welfare work to as few organizations as possible. I believe that they have no business
recognizing forty-nine or more different organizations, all Masonic. We are entitled to
no such special recognition. If we would work together as one, we could get results.
* * *
We are still sitting together in the chamber of reflection.
Humiliating as it is, I must read you another letter. This one hurts. It hurts deep. But I've
been twirling my thumbs, and I accept the reproof which it implies. Whether it will
bring the lump into your throat I do not know. Can you listen to the voice of an
American soldier telling of his need, without a lump ? I cannot. I feel a blush of shame
creep up my neck every time I read this letter. I've had it only forty-eight hours. It
touched the trigger, and that's why my pistol is going off.
Listen to him, brother o'mine, asking favors of me ! He, a Captain in my army, asking
as a favor that I send him magazines! So that the tired and the lonesome and the
wounded may rebuild shattered nerves, get a mental handclasp with the thinking brother
back home, and forget the wounds suffered that I might be free. He, a Captain drawing
barely enough money to pay his expenses and keep up the little home "Somewhere in
the U.S.A.," and his brother, a Private, drawing $30.00 a month, need money, so that
they can have a little Masonic Club House "Somewhere in France," and keep sweet,
keep manly, keep clean for the wife and babies at home - a place where no religion is
preached at them, but where the tender bud of Masonry may bloom into the flower of
new friendships and renewed Fraternal ties. They need money, brother o'mine !
Yes, as God is my witness, they need money to do for themselves the work which I, an
able-bodied member of the Masonic Fraternity, should long ago have been planning
and executing for them! This is the naked truth, openly confessed. Now read the letter:
Base Section No. 1
W. F. Jerome,
Charles J. Cook,
Saint Nazaire, France, Sept. 1, 1918
The National Masonic Research Society,
Will you please publish and find out if any one would be so kind as to send any and as
many Masonic Journals as possible to our Club, as we can dispose of them very easily
and put them into valuable circulation. They need not be fresh from the press, but after
they have been read and of no more value to the folks at home, forward them to the
Masonic Club, Base Section No. 1, Saint Nazaire, France, and I assure you they will be
well appreciated by our worthy brothers who visit the Club, and sick and wounded in
Thanking you for any consideration given, I remain Fraternally yours,
Edmond Dupras. Secretary.
And he enclosed a little advertisement that they are running in an American newspaper
of French vintage, as follows:
Masonic Club - Saint Nazaire. Meets every Tuesday, 7 p. m., Masonic Hall, Place
Marceau, over Cafe American. Club rooms open from 7 p.m., to 1 1 p.m. every night.
All Masons welcomed.
E. Dupras, Secretary.
Finally, he inserts a mimeographed letter from the Club Committee, of which this is a
Masonic Club, Base Section One
A.P.O. 701, A.E.F.
Sept. 1, 1918.
Since coming abroad Masons belonging to the American Expeditionary Forces have
been working under peculiar conditions, and it is for a correction of these conditions
that we appeal to the members at home.
Masonic Clubs have been organized quite generally throughout the different army units,
and in base ports and large cities have attained considerable importance, but the real
activities and purposes of all these organizations are greatly hampered, and some have
ceased to exist for the following reasons:
First. - Membership is drawn entirely from the army, navy, and attached civilians,
whose first consideration must be the performance of those duties to which they have
been assigned in the service, and which often leaves little or no time for anything else.
We are first to win the war.
Second. - The large field for work makes time an essential.
Third. - The absence of support which comes through co-ordination, recognition and
As a remedy for these conditions, we suggest the following:
That a central body be organized in the United States, whose duty it would be to raise
funds, appoint a staff of secretaries above military age, and systematize Masonic
activities among the troops abroad, especially in France and Italy.
An executive officer, having plenary power, should be stationed at a central point, like
Paris, to whom the various Clubs could make known their needs, and to receive reports.
Club rooms should be maintained at all the principal points, such as base ports, large
cities, casual and rest camps, and other places where the membership would seem to
warrant. Each of these Club rooms should be under the charge of a civilian Secretary
provided with sufficient funds to furnish and maintain the rooms, and for the relief of
all worthy Masons.
This being a base port, and also near a large area, we come in daily contact with many
Masons upon their arrival in France; with the wounded sent back from the front; and
with soldiers returning to the homeland, which places us in an excellent position to
carry out the precepts of our noble Order by extending Fraternal greetings, rendering
aid to those in distress, and visiting the sick and wounded.
Until other arrangements are made, any funds that you might feel disposed to give can
be placed to a good purpose through our Club, and money is needed!
In conclusion we bespeak your earnest consideration of our Masonic conditions and ask
that you immediately take such steps as are necessary and seem best for the greater
fulfillment of our obligations and responsibilities as Masons.
Masonic Club Committee.
Edmond Dupras, Secretary.
* * *
Do you wondel that I feel like a slacker?
I've been one.
* * *
But the explosion is out, and I'm not a slacker now.
I cannot do this work alone: The Grand Lodge of Iowa can and will help, and I will help
myself, to the best of my ability, but we cannot do it alone. It is a job for American
Masonry, that is what it is! No labels that indicate degrees have any place in this work.
It is not a matter of titles, or of Rites, or of Grand Jurisdictions. It is a matter of rights!
You are big enough not to ignore this call. So is your Grand Jurisdiction. I'm not afraid
to meet you and talk this matter over to its last detail if necessary ! And the Grand
Lodge of Iowa is not afraid to have me come and talk the matter over with you. I'm not
afraid of an organization, with officers having "plenary power," as our brother
expresses it, or "all buttoned up," as my good friend Brother Watres of Pennsylvania
would say, in order to do the jab that needs to be done for our brethren in khaki. We
don't care who fathers it, so that we get the best brains that American Masonry
possesses. Forget "General Grand Lodge" with its eerie phantom! Our country is in a
crisis, the like of which it has never faced before. Our brethlen are flocking to the
colors; they're being mixed up like hash in the griddle - but they're still Masons! They
are meeting a crisis, too ! And in that crisis they are calling on you and me to help them.
The New York plan may be the best one to unite around - 1 don't care how it is done, so
that we answer that Masonic Club Committee's letter as it deserves to be answered. To
answer it at all demands that we answer it effectively.
Our government has told us that they will recognize us as a National organization, but
they will not do so as forty-nine or more separate organizations.
Can you, and will you, meet me within thirty days at some central point in the United
States of America to talk this thing over? And will you bring with you one, or two, or
three of your strong Masons - the strongest men you have in your jurisdiction - so that
when we have met upon the level and evolved something, we can go before the Masons
of America and tell them that we have a constructive plan which will represent
American Masonry at its best? We don't need to worry about money, if we show them
that we are going to try to do the job, and do it right. And they will accept nothing less!
With all sincerity, I am
Geo. L. Schoonover,
Grand Master of Masons in Iowa.
— o —
EDITED BY BRO. H.L. HAYWOOD
The object of this Department is to acquaint our readers with time-tried Masonic books
not always familiar; with the best Masonic literature now being published; and with
such non-Masonic books as may especially appeal to Masons. The Library Editor will
be very glad to render any possible assistance to studious individuals or to study clubs
and lodges, either through this Department or by personal correspondence; if you wish
to leam something concerning any book - what is its nature, what is its value, or how it
may be obtained - be free to ask him. If you have read a book which you think is worth
a review write us about it; if you desire to purchase a books - any book - we will help
you get it, with no charge for the service. Make this Your Department of Literary
“THE DIVINE MYSTERY"
THIS book, written by Allen Upward, and published by Houghton, Miflin Co. at $1.75,
is a study of the origins of Christianity written from the point of view of modem
anthropology. The author sees the faith as an inevitable development out of the
religions which preceded it - indeed he traces its origins back to the most primitive
forms of religion, such as magic, primitive genius, etc. - and these primitive forms of
religion, which are often condemned as childish superstitions, he interprets as having
been naive interpretations of real experiences and events; thus he holds that the early
magician began as a rain-maker, and that he was probably a man with a supersensitive
nervous system who was able to forecast the coming of a thunder-storm by his own
feelings, a human barometer, as it were. Because the primitive mind held that that
which preceded a thing was its cause it was easy for them to believe that because the
magician announced the coming of the rain he was really the cause of the rain. The
same supersensitive nervous organism working in other directions would be the genius,
the prophet, or the primitive poet, all of whom Mr. Upward believes, may have
unwittingly exercised what we now call thought-reading, clairvoyance, etc. Because of
their unusual powers they were first feared, then reverenced, and at last worshipped.
After the death of the wizard he was gradually deified, and thus, according to the
author's argument, the gods were transfigured men who had at one time actually lived.
One may hold whatever theories he may please about these matters, but no reader can
deny that Mr. Upward has worked out his thesis with great learning, with fearless and
original thinking, and with admirable conciseness; nor are his pages lacking in literary
appeal. It would be impossible for the author of that sparkling work, "The New Word,"
which won for him the Nobel Prize, to write a dull page if he tried: especially
noteworthy is the brevity of the treatment made possible by his ability to condense into
a single striking paragraph a long and very complex subject.
But the cautious reader will be on his guard against rapid generalizations, and there can
be no doubt that Mr. Upward is sometimes led to rush in where more circumspect
scholars fear to tread. The well-informed Masonic reader will note this in Mr. Upward's
references to the mysteries of our fraternity, as in the following passage on the Hiram
"A development from idolatry is the consecration of a building by means of a human
victim The first temple was a tomb, and in architecture as in other arts religion led the
way. The virtue of the ghost extended from the gravestone to pervade the sacred fabric,
and in imitation a single victim buried under the foundation gave magical strength to a
whole building, or to the whole circuit of a city wall. The custom can hardly be said to
have died out yet among savages, and there are many traces of it in our midst. The most
remarkable is the ceremony of admission to the degree of Master Mason. The original
meaning of their ritual has been lost by modem Freemasons, the liturgy now used by
them being a medieval allegory, but an anthropologist can hardly fail to see that the
candidate who goes through a pantomime of death, burial and resurrection, is
personating the ancient foundation victim."
And more to the same effect.
A thoroughly trained Masonic scholar would admit, as Gould was always admitting,
that we cannot be sure of possessing the original meanings of our ritual, and he would
be the first to acknowledge that certain faint echoes of early practices remain in our
ceremonies: but to call our liturgy a "medieval allegory" flies beyond all evidence.
Speth, than whom there was no better informed authority on the subject, published an
essay in which he tentatively advanced the theory that our drama has some dim
connections with the old custom of burying a victim under the cornerstone, but he
frankly admitted that his thesis was largely guess-work: when therefore Mr. Upward
asserts without proviso that what Speth held as a working hypothesis is an actual fact,
and to be asserted as such, we feel that he is going too far. To hold a theory is one
thing: to assert it as a fact is quite another: Mr. Upward is altogether too much given to
making assertions in regard to matters about which we are as yet very ignorant.
But after making all such deductions "The Divine Mystery" is a brilliant book, well
worth reading, especially for Masons. It is an essay in a field which is comparatively
virgin soil and we may be sure that in the years to come scholars will hit upon some
very great and fruitful discoveries in the origins of religion.
* * *
JONAH: A BOOK FOR MASONS
The book of Jonah occupies but two pages in the Authorized Version of our Bible but
in value it far outweighs other books which absorb many times its space, for, with the
exception of the latter half of Isaiah and a few of the Psalms it strikes a higher note
than any other part of the Old Testament. Professor Comill, whose "Prophets of Israel"
has become one of the classics of Biblical exposition, writes of this slender work:
"I have read the book of Jonah at least a hundred times, and I will publicly avow, for I
am not ashamed of my weakness, that I cannot even now take up that marvelous book,
nay, nor even speak of it, without the tears coming to my eyes, and my heart beating
higher. This apparently trivial book is one of the deepest and grandest that was ever
written, and I should say to everyone that approaches it, 'Take off thy shoes, for the
ground whereon thou standest is holy ground.' "
Who wrote this book we do not know, but internal evidence goes to show that he lived
at about the middle of the fourth century before Christ. At that time the literary
allegories were the fashion, even as novels now are, and it was natural for him to throw
his message into such form; as natural as it was for Winston Churchill to write "The
Inside of the Cup."
In those days there were two classes of religious teachers in Israel; on one side were
the bigots who believed that Jehovah was the private property of the Jews, having His
residence in Palestine, and that He was determined to destroy the heathen nations root
and branch; on the other side was a smaller but more intelligent group who understood
that Jehovah was the Creator of the whole earth and that the heathen were as much his
people as any.
The author of Jonah was a member of the latter group and his book is evidently a blast
directed against the bigots. He chose Jonah, the son of Amittai, to be the central figure
figure of his tale because that prophet had lived in the eighth century when narrow-
mindedness had mn amok among the Jews. If one will bear this in mind and if he will
remember the conditions of the author's own age and his puipose in writing his work,
he can easily catch the point of the allegory.
Jonah, the embodiment of human bigotry, refuses to go to Nineveh to prophecy against
her because he is afraid that if he does the heathen will repent and Jehovah will not
destroy them. So he runs away in the opposite direction and takes ship for Tarshish.
But the storm overtakes the vessel and in the midst of that storm Jonah makes the
discovery that the heathen sailors are as full of the milk of human kindness as himself.
Later on, he arrives at Nineveh and cries out his warnings. Here again he learns how
erroneous were his opinions of the non-Jews for the hated Ninevites reveal the
fundamentally human trait of repentance and all turn from their evil ways and Jehovah
Angered because the Ninevites have been saved Jonah goes off to a hillside to pout. He
trains a gourd vine over a few sticks in order to enjoy the shade, but a worm gnaws the
vine and a sultry wind withers it up and Jonah is so filled with pity for the vine that he
weeps; then it is that Jehovah says to Jonah:
"Thou hast regard for the gourd, for which thou hast laboured, neither madest it grow;
which came up in a night and perished in a night; and should I not have regard for
Nineveh that great city wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot
discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?"
What could be plainer than this sublime moral? Where is there a book that more
clearly expresses the ancient Masonic belief in the essential and inalienable
Brotherhood of Man?
Bro. Rev. George Gibson, P. P. G. Chaplain, Northumberland and Durham.
Shadows fall, we must depart,
Seeking now a peaceful rest.
Cleanse, O King, our secret heart;
May our slumber, Lord, be blest.
All our labor now is done,
And we lay our tools aside;
In refreshment help us shun
Fruitless thoughts; be Thou our Guide.
With us be till next we meet
Round Thine Altar, O Most High;
Leave us never, we entreat;
In all trouble, Lord, be nigh.
When no more we gather here,
When we stand in heaven above,
Then in mercy, Lord, be near;
Crown thy work with endless love.
So mote it be.
— o —
THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its
contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his oven opinions.
Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research
Society, as such, does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against
another; but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to
stand or fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society
at all times. Questions of any nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our
members, particularly those connected with lodges or study Clubs which are following
our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study." When requested, questions will be answered
promptly by mail before publication in this department.
PERSIAN LITERATURE AND THE GROTTO
I have rather amateurishly tried to inform myself regarding Persia, 1000 to 1500 A.D.,
by reading Sir Thomas Moore's "Lalla Rookh." Can you suggest a course of reading in
this connection, covering the history of Persia of the above dates costumes, essays upon
the religions - Zoroasterism, Mahometism and Buddhism - particularly as to their
clashing in Persia and their respective inherent mysticism?
In a word, the Grotto is not unrelated to these times, and it occurred to me that the
researches of the N.M.R.S. would mean that some of the editors and contributors would
be able to suggest some volumes at least which I might profitably read.
In order to collect the materials about which you inquire it will be necessary for you to
ransack a number of books and periodicals because there is no volume, known to us at
least, or even any set of books, in which you could find gathered such information as
you desire. Of course you will desire to read the Zend-Avesta, Persia's Bible; you will
find it in Max Muller's "Sacred Books of the East." Next to that in importance will
come those world classics which Persian genius has contributed to literature: "The
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam; the "Divan" of Hafiz, so beloved by Emerson; the
"Bustan" and the "Gulistan" of Sa'di; the heroic epics of Firdousi, Persia's Homer, and
one of the greatest writers that ever lived; as Persian religion has ever been prevailingly
pantheistic you will care to read something of the works of Jelal un-din Rumi, who has
often been described as "the greatest writer of pantheism that the world has ever
known." For histories the following may be recommended, given in order of value,
according to our views: "History of Persia," by Sir John Malcolm; "Literary History of
Persia," by G. E. Browne; "The Story of Persia," by S.G.W. Benjamin; "History of the
Parsis," by Dosabbai Franiji Karaka; "Biographical Notices of Persian Poetry," by Sir
V.W. Jackson's is one of the best books on "Zoroaster," the founder of Zoroastrianism;
nothing better has been written than Rhys-Davids' various books of Buddha and
Buddhism; "Buddhism; Its History and Literature," being the most comprehensive of
his more popular writings; D. S. Margoliouth's "Mohammed" steers a safe course
between extremes in presenting the portrait of the perplexing founder of
In Watts-Dunton's essay on "Science and Poetry," you will find an Englishman's
estimate of "Sufism"; in Hogel's "Philosophy of History," you will have a
metaphysician's estimate of the value of Parsiism to world religion; and Emerson
included an essay on "Persian Poetry" in his "Letters and Social Aims." Scattered
through the following miscellanies you will discover many interesting things on the
Persians, their customs, etc.
In volume I of Draper's "History of Intellectual Development of Europe" are some
interesting pages on the latter stages of Mohammedanism; you will find plates
representing Persian costumes in the set of books called "Costumes of All Ages";
Gibbon has some larger studies of the larger world aspects of Mohammedanism in his
"Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," volume V, "The Story of the Saracens," by
Arthur Gilman is found in the set of books called "Story of the Nations"; in his
“Childhood of Religions,” Edward Clodd prints some incisive pages of the earlier
Mohammedanism; on Persian marriage customs see "Current Literature" for June,
1902; Lady Shiel contributes an article on "Life and Manners in Persia," in "The Living
Age," volume LI, page 449; Malcolm Khann has an article on "Persian Civilization" in
"The Contemporary Review," volume LIX, page 238; in the "American Historical
Review," volume XII, page 602, is an interesting essay on "Persia, Past and Present," by
A.V.W. Jackson, who knows his subject.
On the various phases of mysticism, in Persia and elsewhere, there is no better work
than Evelyn Underhill's "Mysticism." For Persian pantheism, look up any good work on
the history of pantheism, and especially on Sufism, which was the most vital
development of pantheism in Persia.
If an article or two should develop out of your course of reading, don't forget to try
them out on THE BUILDER
H. L. H.
* * *
QUESTIONS ON "THE BUILDERS" AND SUGGESTIONS TO STUDY CLUB
There was commenced in the June 1915 number of THF BUILDER, on page 128, a
series of questions, being a sort of catechism of Brother Newton's book "The Builders,"
which series was continued until January, 1916. You also published another series of
one hundred and eighty questions of a similar nature on "The Story of Freemasonry,"
during 1916. The questions, it appears, were prepared by the. Cincinnati Masonic Study
I wish to know whether either or both of these lists of questions have been printed in
pamphlet form, and if so, where they can be obtained. Some of the Masonic brethren in
this locality desire to form a Masonic Study Club and it would seem that these two
catechisms in handy form would furnish a ready means of interesting Masons in the
study of Freemasonry.
J. B., Wisconsin.
The questions on "The Story of Freemasonry," have not, to our knowledge, been
printed elsewhere than in the columns of THE BUILDER. The questions on Brother
Newton's book "The Builders," however, have been issued in pamphlet form by "The
Masters and Wardens Club" of Grays Harbor County, Washington, and may be
obtained through this office.
We are mailing you data concerning the course of Masonic study now running in the
Correspondence Circle Bulletin section of THE BUILDER which will give you much
additional information relative to our plan that is not given in the space devoted to the
subject in pages 1 and 2 of the Correspondence Circle Bulletin. This additional
information will be mailed to any member of the Society desiring to bring the matter
before his lodge, upon request.
Several lodges that are following the course of study in their monthly meetings have
adopted the Plan of including a part or all of the questions appearing in the monthly
study installment (to be found on page 2 of the Correspondence Circle Bulletin) in the
notices of their study meetings which are sent out to all resident remembers of the
lodges, thus giving each member an idea of the subjects to be discussed and enabling
those who are readers of THE BUILDER to study the study paper beforehand and
prepare themselves for the subsequent discussion of the subject. As a consequence
much interest in the plan is being manifested in these particular lodges and the
attendance at their meetings is constantly growing. W.E. A.
* * *
What is the meaning of the letters "V.S.L." as used by Brother Haywood in his article
on "The Lights" in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin section of the September
number of THE BUILDER? I have asked a Past Master here and he cannot enlighten
me. A.J.G., Iowa.
These letters are an abbreviation for the "Volume of the Sacred Law." As explained in
Brother Haywood's article other books are substituted for the Bible in non-Christian
* * *
PROMINENCE OF FREEMASONRY IN 1728
In Pope's "Dunciad," Book 4, lines 571 and 572, appears the following:
"Some, deep Free-Masons, join in the silent race
Worthy to fill Pythagoras' place."
This was first published in 1728, and was intended as a satire on Freemasons. Is it of
any importance to us in the study of Masonic history. R.H.A., Nebraska.
The quotation from Pope is of considerable importance and clearly shows that
Pythagoras was held in high estimation by our brethren of 1728, whom Pope endeavors
to ridicule. Some of the theories that have been advanced are that the brethren of the
early decades of the Grand Lodge era were devoted principally to convivial pursuits,
and that the philosophy of Masonry was nearly dormant or had not yet developed.
It is also of importance in showing that Freemasonry in 1728 was of sufficient
prominence to be noticed in a satire on the more prominent institutions and men of that
* * *
THE LEVEL AND THE SQUARE
Can you inform me where I can procure a copy of the poem "Meet upon the level, and
part upon the square?" I recently heard it delivered at a lodge meeting and was deeply
impressed by it.
Two versions of this masterpiece of Brother Rob Morris are published in his volume
"The Poetry of Freemasonry," and since neither of them have previously appeared in
THE BUILDER, we herewith give them both:
The Level and the Square
We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square -
What words of precious meaning those words Masonic are!
Come, let us contemplate them; they are worthy of a thought -
With the highest and the lowest and the rarest they are fraught.
We meet upon the level, though from every station come -
The King from out his palace and the poor man from his home;
For the one must leave his diadem without the Mason's door,
And the other finds his true respect upon the checkered floor
We part upon the square, for the world must have its due;
We mingle with its multitude, a cold, unfriendly crew;
But the influence of our gatherings in memory is green,
And we long, upon the level, to renew the happy scene.
There's a world where all are equal - we are hurrying toward it fast -
We shall meet upon the level there when the gates of death are past;
We shall stand before the Orient, and our Master will be there,
To try the blocks we offer by His own unerring square.
We shall meet upon the level there, but never thence depart;
There's a mansion - 'tis all ready for each zealous faithful heart;
There's a Mansion and a welcome, and a multitude is there,
Who have met upon the level and been tried upon the square.
Let us meet upon the level then, while laboring patient here -
Let us meet and let us labor, though the labor seem severe.
Already in the western sky the signs bid us prepare
To gather up our working tools and part upon the square!
Hands round, ye faithful Ghiblimites, the bright, fraternal chain;
We part upon the square below to meet in Heaven again.
O what words of precious meaning those words Masonic are -
We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square.
The above is the original form in which the poem was written in August, 1854, while
the following is a later version:
We meet upon the LEVEL and we part upon the SQUARE:
What words sublimely beautiful those words Masonic arel
They fall like strains of melody upon the listening ears,
As they've sounded hallelujah's to the world, three thousand years.
We meet upon the LEVEL, though from every station brought
The Monarch from his palace, and the Laborer from his cot;
For the King must drop his dignity when knocking at our door
And the Laborer is his equal as he walks the checkered floor.
We act upon the PLUMB - 'tis our MASTER'S great command,
We stand upright in virtue's way and lean to neither hand;
The ALL-SEEING EYE that reads the heart will bear us witness true,
That we do always honor God and give each man his due.
We part upon the SQUARE - for the world must have its due,
We mingle in the ranks of men, but keep The Secret true,
And the influence of our gatherings in memory is green,
And we long, upon the LEVEL, to renew the happy scene.
There's a world where all are equal - we are hurrying toward it fast,
We shall meet upon the LEVEL there when the gates of death are past;
We shall stand before the Orient and our Master will be there
Our works to try, our lives to prove by His unerring SQUARE.
We shall meet upon the level there, but never thence depart.
There's a mansion bright and glorious, set for the pure in heart;
And an everlasting welcome from the Host rejoicing there,
Who in this world of sloth and sin, did part upon the SQUARE.
Let us meet upon the LEVEL, then, while laboring patient here,
Let us meet and let us labor, though the labor be severe;
Already in the Western Sky the signs bid us prepare,
To gather up our Working Tools and part upon the SQUARE.
Hands round, ye royal craftsmen in the bright, fraternal chain!
We part upon the SQUARE below to meet in heaven again;
Each tie that has been broken here shall be cemented there,
And none be lost around the Throne who parted on the SQUARE.
THE SYMBOLIC LIGHTS
In connection with the article on the Symbolic Lights, by Brother Atchison in the
September number of THE BUILDER there is some interesting information bearing on
the subject to be found in vol. XXIX of the Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, pages 243-264,
in an article on "The Evolution of the Tracing Board." I would especially call attention
to figures 2 and 3 in which the position of the three symbolic lights is given from two
different rituals. In "Masonry Dissected," published in 1730, there is no reference to the
greater or lesser lights, but there is a reference to the three lights of the lodge and the
three fixed lights of the lodjre. The catechism is as follows:
Q. Have you any lights in your lodge ?
A. Yes; three.
Q. What do they represent?
A. Sun, Moon and Master Mason.
(N. B. These lights are three large candles placed on high candlesticks.)
Q. Why so?
A. Sun to rule the Day, Moon the Night, and Master Mason his lodge.
Q. Have you any fixed lights in your lodge?
Q. How many?
(N. B. These fixed lights are three windows supposed to be in every room where a
lodge is held.)
Q. How are they situated?
A. East, South and West.
Q. What are their uses ?
A. To light the men to, at and from their work.
Q. Why are there no lights in the North?
A. Because the sun darts no rays hence.
It is not until 1860 that I find a reference to the three greater and three lesser lights, and
at this time we have the Bible, Square and Compasses introduced as the three great
lights of Masonry. The three candles are here referred to as the three lesser lights,
representing the Sun, Moon and Master Mason, thus, you will note, transposing the
present order in which the three candles are representatives of the three lesser lights.
Possibly the change was made earlier than 1760, in which the Bible is introduced as one
of the three greater lights but I do not find any evidence of it, and so far as I know, the
statement so often made that it was not until 1 760 that the Bible became one of the
three great lights of Masonry is true.
It was not Preston who made the Bible one of the three great lights in 1 760, for he was
not made a Mason until 1762.
I would also call attention to the position of the lights in the various figures illustrated
in the before-mentioned article. In the Carmick Manuscript, 1727, is a floor cloth which
gives two candles instead of three. In the French ritual, as shown in figures 9, 10, 11
and 12, the candles are shown as placed in the northeast, southeast and southwest
comers of the lodge, in figure 10, while in figure 1 1 it appears as though there was a
three-branched candlestick in each of these three corners. In figure 12 there is a design
representing a window in the southeast comer, one in the south, and a third in the west,
slightly to the right of the Senior Warden's station.
In the frontispiece accompanying the article on "The Scald Miserable Masons," which
appeared in THE BUILDER for October, 1917, will be noticed a representation of the
Sun, Moon and the Master carried in the procession. In the inscription these are called
the "three great lights" - the Sun, hierogliphically, to rule the day, the Moon,
emblematically, to rule the night, and the Master Mason, politically, to rule the lodge.
This might indicate that prior to 1760, or at least in 1742, the three great lights were
what we now call the three lesser lights. At any rate I find no reference to the three
great and three lesser lights prior to 1760. C. C. Hunt, Iowa.
* * *
In the Question Box department of the August number of THE BUILDER there appears
an interesting question and answer concerning crosses. The answer, in my opinion, is
Heraldry is built upon a number of figures, directions, postures and positions, each of
which mean some particular thing and is intended to convey some particular meaning.
It may be a plain cross, which is one of the Ordinaries of heraldry, by which is meant a
figure, etc., which by its ordinary and frequent use in a shield of arms becomes most
essential to the science of heraldry.
When the word "cross" is mentioned in heraldry, the plain arms crossed at right angles,
arms of equal length, is meant. Now if one arm is longer than the other, its name is no
longer "cross", but "passion cross", although that is not exactly correct If we take the
original cross and place across or on the ends of the four arms a short bar, making each
arm look like the top of an old-fashioned crutch made in the country shop, it is no
longer a cross, but a cross potent, for the reason that each arm has the appearance of a
portion of a crutch, which in Chaucer's time was called a "potent." If from the center of
the crossing of the arms you depict light, short lines diverging in all directions, it is not
a cross, but a "cross rayonnant," or rayed.
Now, if the Blue Lodge should adopt the cross, they could not properly call it a "Blue
Lodge cross." If we found that the Consistory, in using a "cross potent", described it as
a "Teutonic cross" I would conclude that this term was used to make it more simple of
understanding to us folk who would want to know the proper cross to be used, since not
many of us have heard the word "potent", do not know its original meaning, and have
never met Chaucer.
I have three very old standard books on my desk. One makes no mention of the word
"Teutonic," although the cross potent is described and illustrated, as are thousands of
other emblems. Another shows plates of decorations and gives the history of the
Teutonic Knights, and their badge is shown as an attenuated design of a cross "patee,”
while the star (or cross) of the Order is a pure cross "patee." This Order still exists as a
fief of Austria. They have had very interesting history but have but little prominence
now; almost all of their lands have been taken away from them and they have been
conquered by the Poles and West Prussians. Napoleon abolished the Order in the
Rhinish provinces. When a new Emperor of Austria comes to the throne, the brand
Master must renew his fief. There is nothing to connect our thirty-second degree jewel
with the Teutonic Knights.
In Edmonson's "Complete Body of Heraldry," the Herald's Bible, it is stated that the
original badge of the old Teutonic Knights was a "cross potence sable," or a black
"cross potent", (remember the crutch,) and at subsequent times were added a double
potent gold cross, then the imperial eagle, and St. Louis of France gave them a green
cross-bar on which appears the fleur-de-lis of France. The present Masonic cross does
resemble this only in the "cross" particular, but it must be remembered that because the
Teutonic Knights adopted or were given the use of the "cross-potent" as a badge, that
did not in any way make it a "Teutonic cross" - it is still a "cross potent."
T. W. Hugo, Minnesota.
(In the Question Box department of the February number of THE BUILDER, on page
63, we described the jewel of the thirty-second degree as a Teutonic cross of gold with
certain embellishments. We took as our authority the Statutes of the Supreme Council
of the Southern Jurisdiction. Possibly Brother Hugo will enlighten us concerning this
official description. - Editor.)
* * *
In THE BUILDER for June, 1917, 1 found a question signed by one T.J.D. asking
"Why preachers limit Brotherhood by the phrase 'in Christ'?" As you pointed out it
would been better had your correspondent asked a preacher.
Let me point out that the expression has a two-fold meaning, one universal and one
limited. First: "Because we thus judge if Christ died for all then were all dead, and that
he died for all," etc. Recognizing therefore that Christ died for all, we address men as
"Brothers in Christ". For we believe "in God the Son who has redeemed me and all
mankind". Secondly: The phrase may have, according to the connection in which it is
used, a more restricted meaning, as a brother who also believes in the same Christ as we
do. In such connection it no more "limits" Brotherhood than one speaks of a brother in
the ministry, or a brother Mason, or a brother anything else.
Masons, at least, should understand the use of such a phrase, when, although they
recognize in every son of Adam a brother of the dust, they are also expected to keep in
due bounds with all mankind, but more especially with their brethren in Masonry. E.W.